Monday, February 24, 2014

Jay and Dave and those other guys

Right off the top I don't particularly like Jimmy Fallon even if his first name is the same as mine. My name was supposed to be James but the hospital made a mistake and it became Jimmy, although I go by Jim. Whenever I go to a doctor's office, they assume I'm 8 years old.

And I don't like the other Jimmy, Kimmel. I can't stand Chelsea Handler or Seth Meyer. I don't mind Conan and can take at least 15 minutes of Craig Ferguson who, in my mind, is probably the most original of any late-night talk show, but can be intense for the viewer who expects the usual soft ball jokes. Ferguson seems slightly dangerous.

And Jay wasn't my favorite either, he was totally softball and had a needy feeling about him, that sort of "please like me" attitude. 

Then there's Dave who arguably is the best of all of them -- with some reservation. Dave is a true interviewer, he knows how to make the guest the star of the show in the
manner of Johnny Carson of whom few of you have ever heard of. The names above except Letterman don't really interview guests, rather they try to find something funny about them.

So what?

Well, a couple of things.

Let's go back to Steve Allan.  Who?

Steve Allan was a lot of things; he was a brilliant musician and a funny guy. And he was the inventor of the late-night show with NBC's "Tonight" of which
Fallon recently inherited. Allan was amazingly clever, he interviewed people and had mostly show business guests and a handful of comedians who would show up more often than not. 

Every late-night show you watch today is a copy of Steve's.

But Steve got tired or just bored and he turned it over to a guy called Jack Paar, who was probably the most intellectual host of that show and any others except for Charlie Rose who
is in a class of his own. Paar brought a certain intelligence to the show and he pushed the boundaries whenever he could. He would even make fun of his sponsors, I once watched him smash a Timex watch to see if it survived. 

But then came Johnny, undoubtedly the best host of Tonite. He
knew, like Steve, that the guest should be who everyone is looking at, unlike the Kimmels and whatevers who want to show how funny they are. He was our in to the movie stars and he, like Paar, bought in other people, scientists, race car drivers and almost every type of person there is.

Then came the Dave vs Jay conflict when Johnny retired. It's been told that Johnny wanted Dave to take over but it led to some knife-in-the back tactics by Jay which resulted in him winning over Dave. 

That's why Dave always made jokes about Jay. He stole Dave's show.

Jay had better ratings than Dave but for some stupid reason NBC decided to kick Jay out and replace him with Conan.

By now you all know about Conan, he lasted a short time and then was replaced by Jay and was transferred to network Siberia. Or as some call it TBS.

But NBC gave Jay a couple of years and he retired (again) a few weeks ago. Now it became Fallon's show. And he humbly accepted, in fact he reminded us every day how lucky he was and how humble he will be.

So what happens now?

Well, I think NBC put Fallon in for two reasons; he's cheaper than Jay and the whole "late-night show" format has gone to the dogs. There's simply too many shows, Arsenio has his foot in the door also. I don't really count the Daily Show or Colbert because they're more scripted faux news shows.

And there's another point; the audience for these shows are mostly over 40 as they always were. In fact they were often considered "adult" shows and to be shown late at night after the kids have gone to bed. They were more risque than the afternoon talk shows.

They still are that, but as I argue, with a bunch of comedians trying to be funny all the time.

The only real talk show host is Dave, and he's showing a lot of grey hair and I think he'll finally retire within five years - maybe. 

And how about those oscars?


A friend of mine said that the oscars should have Tina Fey and Melissa McCarthy. 

Now that would be a great show.

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