From The Hollywood Reporter:
Kevin Spacey’s legendary Johnny Carson impression had humble beginnings. When Spacey was young and trying to make ends meet, he had a mix of jobs, including selling shoes, installing ovens and doing stand-up. The latter often entailed a variety of impressions, including personal favorite Johnny Carson. Recalls Independence Day writer-producer Dean Devlin, with whom Spacey has been friends since high school, of his pal’s comedy routine: “I used to do stand-up in New York, and every once in a while Kevin would come to our gigs, and when he did we’d always interrupt our show and say, ‘Oh my God, Johnny Carson is in our audience tonight.’ He’d come on stage and do Johnny, but he’d always wear tap shoes, so somewhere in the middle of it he would break into a tap-dance routine. It was absolutely hilarious.”
His impression came in handy at nightclubs, too. Devlin says he’ll never forget the day that Spacey, then just a broke Juilliard student, called to say they’d be going to Studio 54 that night. “I said, ‘Kevin, they don’t let guys like you and me into Studio 54,’ and he goes, ‘No, no, we’re getting in,’” says the producer. The two arrived and Spacey pushed to the front of a long line. He started doing his Carson impression for the doorman, telling him that his name should be on the list under Carson Productions. The doorman took one look at a young Spacey and said, “And who the hell are you?” His response: Kevin Carson, Johnny’s son, and he was there to see a band who would be on that night’s show. Without a Carson on the guest list, the back-and-forth continued until the doorman finally said: “Alright, if you’re from the Carson show, what floor at NBC is the commissary on?” As quick on his feet then as he is now, Spacey fired back: “Fourth floor — can we go in now?” And they did. Adds Devlin, “I turn to Kevin and go, ‘How do you know where the commissary is at NBC?’ And Kevin says, ‘I don’t know and he doesn’t know either.’ ” Spacey did it again in the VIP line, finagling their names onto a list that would get the pair invited to every meaningful New York social event — gallery openings, nightclubs, plays — for the next couple of years.