January 30, 2006
What do late-night hosts from Carson to Conan have in common, beyond suits and good looks? Well,
at some point they all say...
Play me to the desk
An Open Letter to the Executives in Charge of NBC's Late Night Programming
| However, it occurred to me recently
that in the coming shake-up of the late night community, one of its funniest
and most consistent contributors might end up getting the shaft.
I would first like to extend my heartfelt congratulations on over four decades
of late-night superiority, ratings-wise if not always in quality. However, it
occurred to me recently that in the coming shake-up of the late night community,
one of its funniest and most consistent contributors might end up getting the
shaft. As a semi-loyal viewer I'd like to do what I can to help avoid all that.
As you well know, we are less than four years away
from Jay Leno's retirement as host of the Tonight Show
and from Conan O'Brien's
and well-deserved claiming of that particular throne.
And as a friend
pointed out to me recently, it appears as though
Carson Daly, host of
current 1:30 AM weeknight offering Last Call, may be
in the preening
as a potential replacement for Conan on the
long-running Late Night. I
writing this because this would be the greatest
mistake of them all.
Seriously, dude. NOT FUNNY.
Here's the problem: Carson Daly is not funny.
Period. You can
all the hip new writers you want, who will in turn
give him funny
say, but he's just not a funny person. I'm sure he
knows a good deal
the music business and I bet he gets along okay with
many of his
guests, but beyond that the man is not fit to fill the
shoes of Mr.
or Mr. Letterman before him, for that matter. Late
Night now has a
untarnished history of irreverent, smart-alecky,
that Carson Daly knows absolutely nothing about. His
is not the
self-effacing yet sharp-witted personality type to
the shame of handing that job to him would forever
echo through the
Studio 6A as nothing short of a travesty.
This guy? Funny.
So now that Late Night needs a host, I would like to recommend someone who
has plenty of experience both on that particular show and elsewhere in the comedy
world as one of the sharpest, most innovative writers around: Robert Smigel.
Besides serving as Late Night with Conan O'Brien
's head writer in its
fledgling seasons and creating some of its most memorable characters (such as
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), Smigel has also been a member of Saturday
's writing staff since 1985. He wrote for and was a cast member
of the short-lived and vastly underrated Dana Carvey Show
, not to mention
his own similarly-fated Comedy Central series TV Funhouse
. If you're
worried about his on-screen persona, check out his acting chops in pretty much
every Adam Sandler movie ever made, or his hilarious performances as Bill Clinton,
George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don King and almost every other character
in Conan's recurring "Clutch Cargo" segment on Late Night.
Now you may be asking yourselves, "Does Smigel even
answer is: I don't know. I do know, however, that
Lorne Michaels wants
to have it, and that should probably be enough for
track record for hand-picking SNL writers to become
talk show hosts.
So there you have it, enough said. You hold in
the power to continue one of the greatest comedic
traditions of the
century, or to flush that all down the toilet by
inviting a glib,
overconfident ex-VJ to inherit the most sought-after
position in the
late-night hierarchy. It's really up to you.
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