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When some people learn Drew Barrymore was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, they might be surprised, considering he retired in 1992. But a decade before that, Barrymore was invited to sit down with the iconic host for her first Tonight Show interview. And almost 40 years after that chat, she bluntly and explicitly reminded late-night host John Oliver of why she’s been famous for so long.

Black and white photo of 7-year-old Drew Barrymore seated next to Johnny Carson on 'The Tonight Show' in 1982
(L-R) Drew Barrymore and Johnny Carson | Gene Arias/NBCU Photo Bank

Drew Barrymore visited Johnny Carson on ‘The Tonight Show’ when she was only 7

The first thing to note about Barrymore’s first Tonight Show appearance in July 1982 is how entertaining she already was, as Carson pointed out. Though only 7, she seemed like a natural professional at charming an audience — and even a long-beloved personality like Carson.

For example, after slipping and falling on her way to the desk, she quickly composed herself and explained to Carson that her adorable little shoes were “real slippery.”

Then, she shared a sweet message. “I’ve been waiting all my life to meet you, and I’m finally on the show,” she told the host. “It’s a miracle.”

She added that she stayed up late sometimes to watch him. “Just because of you,” she assured him.

“I wanted to meet you, too, because I’ve been reading all about you,” he said, returning her flattery. “You’re a lovely young actress.”

Drew Barrymore to John Oliver, ‘I was in f***ing ‘E.T.’

When Oliver visited The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in March 2022, he said he’d bumped into Barrymore around the time she was getting her talk show started. “It took me a few seconds to realize who she was,” he said. That was because she was wearing a mask and a hat at the time.

Once he figured it out, they started to chat. And she told the Last Week Tonight Show host how much she enjoys late-night comedy. She also mentioned being on Carson’s Tonight Show, which surprised Oliver. He asked her “how on earth” that happened, and she replied, “I was in f***ing E.T.

While chatting with Fallon, Oliver explained that the film moved him in his childhood. To elaborate, he said he was carried from the theater in tears when the credits rolled because “he couldn’t believe E.T. left” the family. Still, he forgot Barrymore played the darling little sister Gertie — at least for a moment when he saw her.


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Drew Barrymore told Johnny Carson about a sequel that never happened

While chatting with Carson about filming E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Barrymore told him she liked the alien character and didn’t find him scary, as he thought some children might. “He had a cute face,” she said and later shared, “I enjoyed making that movie.”

But that wasn’t all she had to say about it. “I shouldn’t tell you this, but I think there’s gonna be a sequel,” she told Carson. He asked if she’d just revealed something she wasn’t supposed to, and she said, “Well, I can tell you.”

After deadpanning for the camera, the host said, “I’ll keep it just between us then.”

Of course, that sequel didn’t happen, and not because the young star spilled the metaphorical beans. Decades after her interview with Carson, Barrymore explained on Watch What Happens Live that director Steven Spielberg always wanted to leave the original as it was, even though there was some talk in some “camps” about a sequel.