Friday Fives – late night edition

Who was your guy?  (Carson, Letterman, Leno, Conan… pick one and expound)

Letterman. Growing up, there were only 2: Letterman, and Carson. Carson was for a different generation. Carson was for our parents. PLUS… I have been to a Letterman show. LONG ago. It was a morning show. That is how long ago. Here is what I remember about it. Nothing about the show, in that it was about 35 years ago. I remember trying to get in. You had to be at least 12 years old. I was only 6 or 7. I was a very short kid. So short that I walked right under the ticket takers arm… he never saw me. Never took my ticket. Quite literally I was flying under the radar.

Super Memorable talk show moments?

It’s infamous now, but when Jerry Lawler smacked the shit out of Andy Kauffman on Letterman. We know now it was a stunt. I was watching this on tv, and I lost my shit. It was very, very believable.

Ever been to one in person?

Yeah, and not just the Letterman one, above. I went to see Arsenio Hall show back in college. We were on Venice Beach on vaca and some PA was handing out free tix. We went the first night, and it was overbooked, so they bounced us back a day. No problem at all for us, but they felt super bad. They told us if we come back they will take care of us… and they did. We went in first, and got first row. I was on TV, when they pan the crowd at the beginning.

The guests were Dennis Miller, and Anna Nicole Smith, so that was awesome. This was back when Dennis Miller was funny, and not a right wing nutjob. He swore, too, which blew my mind. Of course, they beep it for broadcast, but it felt scandalous to hear an f bomb in person.

OH… and we saw Conan in person. Not a taping of his show, but when he did the comedy tour in-between shows. That was great. Also saw Craig Ferguson do a club set a few years back, he is great.

Who don’t you like, of the classic hosts… and why.  Be specific now

I think Jimmy Fallon is just great for his new job. It seems like the genre was built for him. He is such a joyful and happy fanboy that it absolutely comes across. So, no one I don’t like…. But I could see Jimmy Fallon doing this for 30 years.

I like them all. There is no one I don’t like.

Did you know Paul Shaffer isn’t just Letterman’s hacky piano guy.  He was also the band director or SNL, the Blues Brothers, the Grammys, the R&R HOF jams.  Is he in the Rock Hall of Fame?  He should be.  Oh, and he wrote ‘It’s Raining Men’.  And you know he’s funny, he’s Canadian.  I guess there isn’t really a question there, but I thought Paul should be acknowledged for his tremendous contributions.  I mean… he put the Blues Brothers band together.  It was all him.  He couldn’t be in the movie because of conflict of interest legal mumbo jumbo.

And… he was in Spinal Tap. What is there not to love?

Ok, since that last wasn’t a question… or anything… really… who do you see still standing in 30 years?  This includes James Corden and Steven Colbert?

Jimmy Fallon.  He is a natural.


Friday Fives > late night

Late night talk > in lieu of Conan’s almost last show being tonight, and Fallon taking over in a couple of weeks… let’s talk late night television.

Are you a Letterman of a Leno fan?

For content, Letterman.  However, it seems Letterman is perpetually in re-runs.  I enjoy Leno as well, but I grew up with Letterman.  Hell, I was at a Letterman show taping.  How long ago?  It was a morning show on NBC in the early 80’s.  True story, that is where my Gene Shalit story comes from.

Favorite Late Night memory (Letterman, Leno… whoever)

There isn’t much better than a celebrity meltdown.  Though I missed Farrah, I saw the Andy Kaufman episode, and the Crispin Glover one too.  Sadly, I didn’t see the Joaquin Phoenix one as it aired.  I have seen it about 25 times since though, seriously.  See below for discussion.  My favorite would have to be Hunter Thompson on Conan several years ago.  Just about the best thing ever.  Set a few minutes aside and watch, it’s only a four minute clip.

Craig Ferguson or Conan?

Well, though I am a big fan of Conan… I choose tv’s Craig Ferguson every night.  Funnier, and more my kind of humor.

Do you remember Carson?  Carson Daly?  Chevy Chase, Arsenio? Who was the best?

Prolly Carson.  However, I grew up watching Letterman.  Carson was speaking to a different generation.

Let’s just stop everything and talk about the whole Joaquin Phoenix incident on Letterman.  Drugs?  Hoax?  A ‘bit’?

Man, let me refill my drink before we broach this one.  First things first, watch this.  Watch it a lot.  Again.  Now, let’s talk.

So, uh… what just happened there?  I mean, I know drugs.  That isn’t drugs, unless it is all of them.  Also, it has nothing to do with ‘hip hop’.  There is no reason he couldn’t have been passionate and articulate about hip hop.  In fact, now that he has found his true calling… you think he would have lit up with joy about the whole thing.

Others have said it was a hoax, a publicity stunt.  I don’t see it, and here is why.  I mean, the guy is plenty talented to pull it off.  However, if it were a bit, Letterman wasn’t in on it.  So, that makes him look like an asshole.  If it turns out to be a hoax, I think it will backfire big time.   So, what was it?

Did he go crazy?  No.  I am positive.  Crazy doesn’t onset in early 30’s (he is 34, I think).  It hits late teens or early 20’s.

Ok, so, what would make us think it was a bit?  Well, he says he has totally and completely quit acting.  So then why is his brother in law, Oscar nominated Casey Affleck following him everywhere with a camera crew?  Affleck was on set filming the Letterman appearance, and was also at the famous Vegas clip where Phoenix falls off the stage a few weeks earlier.

Plus, there are a couple of extremely brief moments in that 9 minute interview where he was completely lucid.  Almost like he slipped out of character.

My feeling is about 70/30 that this guy is gone.  Dead within months.  However, if he is still alive in five years, I guarantee he will be in movies.   fact.  non negotiable.  Thoughts?