Thursday, March 5, 2009
An Appreciation to Late Night Television - The rest of them
(Note: I realize that Carson is the king and that everyone pretty much from his point forward owe their careers to him. I watched and enjoyed him but my influential years were spent with Letterman. I'm an east coast guy and Letterman's sensibilities fit right into that. Anyway, that's my Carson rant.)
On the flip side, a collection of the others over the years...
Say what you will about Jay Leno, the guy has done more than people routinely give him credit for. Us cynical Letterman fans just can't give him the credit he is due, and that's too bad, because he has seemingly created a late night empire that will propel him into prime time this summer when he takes his show to the 10 PM slot five days a week this summer.
Leno can definitely sell a joke, and his monologue is tight, professional and funny. He has risen from the ashes of The Late Shift (HBO movie on the whole Letterman/Leno/Carson thing) to become the king of late night.
Unfortunately, I trumpeted Chevy Chase as genius almost as much as Conan. But let me defend my self real quick. At that time, Chase could do no wrong. He was in Caddyshack. He was in Fletch. He had been an integral part of the success of Saturday Night Live. How could he be bad?
While I realize he filled an important role as one of the first African American late night talk show hosts, I just couldn't get into him. Flashy without much substance, it wasn't my thing. He also had a tendency to really kiss up to his guests, something I definitely wasn't used to with Letterman's style and approach.
Anyone else remember that Pat Sajak had a late night television show? I'll admit, I didn't watch too much of this show. I can kinda see why someone might think Sajak would be a decent host, as he is fairly witty on Wheel of Fortune in an innocent way, but not for a late night show. Put him on in the afternoon and he might have had something special.
If you didn't remember Pat Sajak, you're definitely not going to remember Alan Thicke's show, known only for the awesome pun in the title. Apparently Arsenio Hall was Thicke's sidekick though, so he's go that going for him...