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Why Brad Garrett Isn't Allowed Back On The Tonight Show

Unless you're Raymond Barone, you can't make everybody love you.

Actor and comedian Brad Garrett — best known for his role as the quirky older brother Robert of Ray Romano's Raymond on Everybody Loves Raymond — recently met up with Saturday Night Live legend Kevin Nealon to take a hike and have a chat as part of Nealon's digital series Hiking with Kevin. During their conversation, Garrett revealed why he wasn't asked to return to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, on which he first appeared when he was getting started as a stand-up comedian.

As Garrett tells it, he wasn't out-and-out "kicked off" The Tonight Show as Nealon suggested, but rather simply wasn't invited to make another appearance. The reason? Garrett's set material wasn't universally well-received, and he made a lewd joke somewhat at the expense of NBC Orchestra saxophonist Tommy Newsom, saying that he had male reproductive cells that were "bigger than him." (For reference, Garrett stands at a towering 6 feet and 8 inches tall, while the late Newsom was a man of seemingly average height.) In hindsight, Garrett admitted that the joke wasn't funny, but was "true."

Brad Garrett ruffled some other feathers on The Tonight Show

As it happens, Tommy Newsom isn't the only person whose feathers Brad Garrett ruffled with his Tonight Show material. 

In his 2015 book of personal essays When the Balls Drop: How I Learned to Get Real and Embrace Life's Second Half (via TIME Magazine), Garrett revealed that his impression of Bill Cosby left the now-disgraced comedian thoroughly unimpressed. 

The two men were flying together from Las Vegas to tape The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, on which Cosby was guest-hosting at the time, when Cosby mentioned that he heard Garrett does an impression of him. He advised the younger comic to not do the impression and instead "just be yourself," but given that Garrett's addition to the episode was a last-minute one, he didn't prepare any material he hadn't used on previous Tonight Show appearances. Thus, he went ahead with the Cosby impression — which was a hit with the live audience but a flop with the man himself.

"When I looked over to the Coz behind Johnny's desk, I could see he had his head down, reading the blue cards that would intro the next commercial. He had stopped watching," Garrett recounted. "Backstage after the show, he said nothing to me. Silence on the car ride back to the airport. Zero conversation on the jet."

Thankfully, Garrett's Tonight Show mishaps didn't keep him from future success. These days, the three-time Emmy-winning actor and comedian is keeping busy with his role as Douglas Fogerty on the ABC sitcom Single Parents, lending his distinctive voice to many different film and TV projects, and keeping his passion for poker (yep, he's a pro player!) alive.

Catch Brad Garrett on Hiking with Kevin when the full episode drops on Thursday, January 23.