Tag Archive | talk shows

Adios, Amigo

I wrote this piece in 2012 when it was Dave’s 30th broadcasting anniversary. My feelings remain the same. I’ll only add: it confounds me that Dave would continue the show for so long when his posture behind the desk (especially in the past few years) has suggested the emotional investment of a death row inmate…until I remember one of my favorite Dave remarks:

“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”

You overdid it, Dave, and as perverse at it seems we respect you for it.

See you later.

Q: Where’s The Rant About The Latest Talk Show Turnovers?

A: I’m a little embarrassed by my previous investment in the Late Night Wars™. Part of that involves my favorite guys not fulfilling whatever weird prophecies I envisioned. More of it has to do with talk show fatigue. The format has become so devalued, and yet at the same time remains so oppressive. Anyone can get a talk show, but anyone who tries to de or reconstruct what we believe a talk show should be (Jeselnik, Kamau Bell) ends up with a pink slip. In that sense, Jimmy Fallon is the perfect choice to host “The Tonight Show.” He’s never been trouble.

To paraphrase Howard Cosell, Jimmy Fallon rhapsodizes about everything, I’m sure he’ll have a fine career.

Seth Meyers on “Late Night” I have a harder time understanding. Did that guy really spend fourteen years on “Saturday Night Live” with the end goal of hosting a twelve-thirty weeknight show? Granted, it’s a spot that once belonged to Letterman and Conan, but neither of those guys did any one job for fourteen years before “Late Night.” That is to say, Letterman and Conan were not defined by anything before their “Late Night” stints. Does NBC really think a guy who spent fourteen years on “Saturday Night Live” is the right kind of person to be hosting “Late Night?” Jimmy Fallon was only on “SNL” for six! Fourteen years is even longer than Tim Meadows’ oft-joked about stint. I guess NBC’s impressed by Seth’s loyalty.

Personally, I’d love to see Tim Meadows host “Late Night.” “Late Night w/ Tim Meadows” is definitely some shit I’d watch. Shout out to all my Lionel Osbourne fans (Lionel Osbourne is a talk show character Tim Meadows used to play in ancient times, long before any of us were ever born).

Hey Macaulay Culkin, When Are You Gonna Make Another Movie?

I’d like to tell you about my favorite talk show moment of all-time.

This was five, six, seven years ago, maybe, when David Letterman had his heart surgery and CBS trotted an endless array of guests hosts out to do his show. The host on this particular night was tennis legend John McEnroe. John’s a big personality, obviously, and although he may lack certain social graces, the guy never fails to be very entertaining.

So I think John’s conceit here was, “I don’t really know how to do this, let’s take the camera outside the studio and see what’s happening around the neighborhood.” By virtue of incredibly dumb luck, McEnroe’s “Late Show” stumbled upon some sort of ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Michael Imperioli from “The Sopranos.”

“Oh, hey, Michael, how’s it going? What’s happening here?” McEnroe most likely said in that forceful brogue he’s so famous for. Imperioli yammers on about whatever the hell this ceremony is. Standing behind Michael, plain as day, is former child star Macaulay Culkin.

Macaulay Culkin is one of those poor souls who perpetually looks the way he did when he was six—the white hair, the painfully red lips, the sunken eyes that still project a strange amount of world weariness. This was before his mini-Aughts comeback, I think, and it looked like Culkin using all of his human energy to blend in with the scenery. The poor guy didn’t want to be noticed. Of course, Culkin’s worse nightmare was about to come true: John McEnroe was about to accost him on national television.

Now, this clip isn’t on YouTube, but believe me when I swear up and down that the second McEnroe spotted Culkin, he practically exploded. An obvious fan of the Home Alone franchise, John simply couldn’t contain his glee.


Culkin: deer in headlights nanoseconds before an SUV impact and certain bloody death. He managed a weak smile and a few words after the studio audience applause died down.

“HEY MACAULAY,” McEnroe shouted again. “WHEN ARE YOU GONNA MAKE ANOTHER MOVIE? WE LIKE YOU IN MOVIES!” The camera cut back to the tennis god, who had the most earnest and almost heartbroken look on his face. I’d pay eleven dollars to see you in anything! his desperate expression seemed to say.

I don’t remember what Culkin said in response, but my jaw was on the ground. In retrospect, I can see how McEnroe got his own chat show a little while later on that financial news network. It probably only failed because he wasn’t yelling at enough former child stars.