Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The perfect late night host: Build your own!

Last week, the Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson wrote a column about the perfect late night talk show host. Of course, he or she doesn't exist: Johnson took a little Ferguson, a bit of Letterman, a touch of Fallon. Here are some of his suggestions:

Craig Ferguson's monologue ("the single most exciting thing in late-night TV right now")
David Letterman's interviewing ("He genuinely listens to what his celebrity visitors say and reacts honestly")
Stephen Colbert's performance skills ("the character not only still earns the welcome mat, but has grown richer")
Jimmy Fallon's subject matter ("give him credit for bringing to late night a genuine engagement with Internet culture")
Conan O'Brien's writer's sensibility ("what O'Brien and his writing team did with 'Tonight' was fresh and format-challenging")
Jon Stewart's search for meaning ("He pushes the program to actually be about something")
Jay Leno's ratings ("when you are constructing a perfect talk-show host, the ability to please many of the people much of the time is nothing to be underrated")

I think Johnson could have added Jimmy Kimmel's sharp and funny viral videos, or, heck, let's go back a ways and bring in Johnny Carson's amazing ability to turn around a joke that bombed. I don't watch enough "Chelsea Lately" or "Lopez Tonight" to gauge where they might fit in. But on the whole, I like the list. Do you have another attribute to add?


  1. Review-Bot said...

    I'd add Ferguson for the interviews too, to be honest. As long as the person being interviewed is at least a person with a slightly interesting life, the interview is worth watching. And as much as I love Stewart, Conan and Colbert... I rarely care about their interviews, except for some guests which really click with them. I understand why they do interviews, but they're usually a notch below the rest of the show. With Ferguson, for whatever reason, they feel much more a part of the whole.