"Say, does this look funny to you?"

Monday, September 27, 2004

THE Late, Late Show Has Started

I'm watching The Jay Leno Show on NBC as they celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of The Tonight Show. I dare not call it "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" because that's not was the show is to me. It's just a plain old talk show with with an overlong monologue.

I never liked Leno as the host of the show. He seems like he wants to be loved by all of America, so he plays up to the crowd. It's what I would call a suck up. You know, the guy at work who would do his best to make everyone laugh with a bad joke and an "it's ok" so he can keep his job. Although, you really knew while he was fine, the guys who had the job before were smarter, funnier, and didn't give a damn what you thought. At least that's how I see it.

During Jay's tribute show, clips were shown from The Steve Allen/Jack Parr/Carson years, which were all funny, although when it came to Johnny's clips, they ran about as much clips from the stand ups who were on the show as much as they showed Johnny. Where was Ed Ames and the tomahawks? Where was The Late, Late Movies? Where was Carson's version or Reagan? Who the hell wants to see Bill Mahr or however the crap you spell his name? The show should have been two hours, nothing but clips and tributes to the show that made us stay up late for over half a decade? Obviously, it's Jay with his workman like attitude that just felt it's just another year. Let's get Hillary Duff on the show. Why at the end of the show did they show during the credits did they show everyone but Johnny? If it wasn't for the man, your big jaw assed head wouldn't EVEN be on BROADCAST CABLE at this point. But, I digress.

I know personally that when you do a talk show, you have to get only the top guests to make the show well, but I also know the show has to funny as well. I never played up to a crowd, whether it was television or radio and now here, and just became me. If it worked, it worked. Leno seems to just do the same routine over and over. Which is interesting, since he was his funniest when he was just a hard hitting comic who hit the road 300 times a year. Since he's settled down, that's when I thought he stopped being funny. Now mind you, the same could be said of Letterman, but he's become what he really wanted, which was a broadcaster, not really an entertainer.

It was announced on these show, although it made it to the press earlier, that Jay would be leaving the show five years to this day and hand it over to Conan O'Brien, which is a surprise. At least he was honest when he mentioned that it broke up a lot of friendships when he took over. I know that when the fight on who would take over The Tonight Show came about, folks were seperated like it was The Civil War all Over again. So, I am glad that Conan has officially inherited the chair instead of watching men squabble over it. Still, because of the past, the show is and will no longer be the same for me and many others who knew it well. I remember reading, then watching the biopic "The Late Shift" and seeing Dave ask Johnny if he really should do "Tonight" and hearing Johnny tell him that it was damaged goods. You know, damn if he wasn't right. After all, after Carson broke the mold, do you really want to be the guy standing there with the Crazy Glue?

A few afterwards. For a more likeable view of Leno, Mark Evanier has his say. Also, I just purchased the new "Here's Lucy" box set, with 24 of the best episodes from Lucille Ball's '68-'74 television series, including an episode featuring Johnny and Ed McMahon, which is hilarious. If you really want to see Carson in his prime, pick this set up, as this, along with fantastic other features are well worth the price.

Oh, yeah. Kilborn's gone. Who gets The Late, Late Show now?


Blogger Donald said...

I don't like Leno's Tonight Show either, but I guess for different reasons. I find it hard to take a host to task because he tries to please the audience. I don't consider that sucking up, I consider that his job. He's supposed to keep people entertained and keep them laughing. If that means appealing to the lowest common denominator with his jokes, so be it. That's not so much his fault as it is the fault of his huge audience. When you have millions of people watching, you have to keep them all in the joke.

Me, I just don't like his show because it's boring. But then again, I find all talk shows boring. As for Conan taking over the Tonight Show... whatever. He may be the most annoying host currently on the air. We've really come a long way south since Johnny left.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

I worked in the 150th radio marke in America, place being Savannah, Georgia. If ANYONE knows a suck up, I do. It's the only way to get a decent guest to come on you show.

I see where you're coming from, Donald. Yes, they're doing their job. AND, THEY ARE ALL SUCKING UP. Jay does it, (a lot) and so does Dave, Jon, Conan and the others. Because if a guest is important, they want them to be exclusives to the show and come back to their couch whenever they have something to plug. As much as he called him a pretty boy, when Tom Cruise showed up on Dave's show finally, Dave did his best smooze. It must have worked well because Tom has been back. There is that element of Kiss Up to the job that you have to do with a job like that. It might not be good for the ol' pride, but it gets the guests on.

11:00 PM  

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