An Ode to Late Night…..

I remember Johnny Carson but he didn’t mean anything to me.  David Letterman was my DUDE!  I discovered him in the mid 1980’s when NBC used to air his anniversary specials in Prime Time.  I loved it when he jumped in a pool wearing an Alka Seltzer suit and cried with laughter when he went out of town, visited a viewer and showed her a picture of a fat crew member eating donuts on her bed.  I was pissed when Leno got the Tonight Show but loved it when Dave went to CBS and built an empire.   Dave doesn’t even have to say “how ya like me now”?  I respect him as student and lover of TV.

That being said, what’s going on in Late Night TV?  Letterman is retiring, Arsenio came back and then got kicked off TV, Conan is on TBS and Jimmy Fallon is killing it as the new host of The Tonight Show.  I did not forget about Jimmy Kimmel.   I like him but his humor is darker and mean spirited at times.  Besides, his show always came on at 12:05am and I’m usually 30 minutes into Letterman.  Back in 2009 when Fallon got Late Night, my first thought was…”what did he do to get this gig?”  You see, Jimmy Fallon laughed his way thru sketches on Saturday Night Live and although it might be funny the first time, it got annoying after the say…10th.  The only time I found him funny was during Weekend Update with my girl Tina Fey.  When it was announced The Roots would be the Late Night house band I decided I would check it out.    It only took one show and I was hooked.  Thankfully, the same show Fallon did on Late Night is pretty much what you see these days on the Tonight Show.  I love it!  Playing password with Betty White?  Priceless.  Watching the Roots play with Springsteen?  Soooo good.  Did you see them jam with the Red Hot Chili peppers a few weeks ago?  It was so funky, I had to watch it 3 times in a row!  The Television Academy seems to agree because Fallon’s Tonight Show is nominated for 7 Emmy’s.

Conan has always been quirky to me and that’s why I love him.  Late Night with Conan O’Brien helped me cope when I was grieving the loss of my mother.  I never laughed so hard when he and Andy Richter used to do a staring contest where Conan would do ANYTHING he could to get Andy to break his stare.  Most of his bits (Triumph the dog and especially the masturbating bear) were silly and not gut busting funny. But at least he was different.

Personally, I hope Arsenio comes back with a new show but this time its home should be TVOne or BET.  And it should only be on 2-3 times a week.  In case you didn’t know, TVOne is co-owned by NBC Universal so they can afford to give Arsenio the money he needs to start back up again.  I’m sure BET is looking at him too.

Stay Tuned for 2015 when Larry Wilmore’s “The Minority Report” premieres after The Daily Show.  Should be good stuff….



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