Late Night Television

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: Late Night Television

#351 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:33 pm

Conan O'Brien's nightly TV show ending next year, but will start a weekly variety show for HBO Max after.
"In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: ‘As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform,'” O’Brien said. “I’m thrilled that I get to continue doing whatever the hell it is I do on HBO Max, and I look forward to a free subscription.”

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: Late Night Television

#352 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:38 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:33 pm
Conan O'Brien's nightly TV show ending next year, but will start a weekly variety show for HBO Max after.
"In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: ‘As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform,'” O’Brien said. “I’m thrilled that I get to continue doing whatever the hell it is I do on HBO Max, and I look forward to a free subscription.”
Re: Johnny Carson, he actually talked about this on Late Night right after Carson died. He told O'Brien "be yourself, it's the only way you'll succeed," which really was the best advice O'Brien had received (and especially wise because O'Brien pointed out that he never said "you WILL succeed" only that real success won't come about in any other way).

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hearthesilence
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Re: Late Night Television

#353 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:24 pm

A fan of Dennis Miller's first short-lived talk show (which was his main reason for leaving SNL) told me that the show was sabotaged right from the start because Leno's manager Helen Kushnick, who took over The Tonight Show as the executive producer, privately told desirable guests that they would be banned from their show if they ever appeared on Miller or Arsenio Hall's show. (Letterman was still on NBC at the time, so he wasn't competition.) Apparently this was indeed the case, and it sounds like NBC found out when two big country stars Travis Tritt and Trisha Yearwood were told they were banned for refusing to cancel their appearance on Arsenio - Tritt and Yearwood's manager responded by contacting NBC, and the network forcibly removed Kushnick from The Tonight Show, going as far as telling Leno he would be removed too if he didn't comply. (At the time he was struggling as the new host, and with subpar ratings he really didn't have any leverage.) It was already too late for Miller as his show had already been cancelled after just seven months, but he made his anger at Leno very clear. The two had been close with Leno helping and even mentoring Miller long before he got on to SNL, and this nearly destroyed their friendship - it would be several years before Miller finally reconciled with him.

Obviously Miller went in another direction around the time George W. Bush took office, but I liked Miller when he was at SNL and I enjoyed his far-more successful HBO show before his disastrous gig on Monday Night Football. Some episodes are up on YouTube thanks to fans who saved their VHS tapes, and they're actually pretty good. (A nice surprise - Andy Summers of the Police was the music director for the first few months.) Not great, but most of the faults seem understandable. For example, it was his first show and as comfortable as he seemed, seven tumultuous months isn't really enough time for a show to get everything right. And as others have confirmed, any show competing for late night supremacy is probably going to be softer or more mainstream than what you'd finder in a later time-slot or on cable TV.

Having Chevy Chase on was amusing - he wasn't very funny, but he expresses skepticism about having a talk show when he'd host a terrible one two years later.

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: Late Night Television

#354 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:36 pm

I liked his HBO show a lot, and even remember liking bits from his stand-up record The Off-White Album.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Late Night Television

#355 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:00 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:36 pm
I liked his HBO show a lot, and even remember liking bits from his stand-up record The Off-White Album.
There's a bunch of those on YouTube too - I didn't realize Henry Rollins was a favorite guest. I didn't have HBO growing up, so while I saw the occasional episode at someone else's home, most of my exposure was a local radio station (forgot which) that would play a clip of his show every morning. The show's theme song, Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," would always play underneath, and to this day I strongly associate that opening riff to Dennis Miller. Politics aside, he was often a wry, self-deprecating guy who really seemed to be having fun - he was cynical, but that was partly an act and he would let the audience know that. Maybe it comes with getting old or maybe I'm just seeing him in the wrong context, but whenever I see or hear him on TV now, he's just misanthropic and bitter.

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: Late Night Television

#356 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:17 pm

From what I have read on him he always leaned a little more to the right, but after 9/11 he became much more on the side of the then-current administration. Even after GWB was elected he called him something akin to "20 gallons of dumb in a 10-gallon hat". He did a stand-up special a little bit after his HBO show ended, and I remember him doing some jokes about climate change that really rang wrong, and that's when I checked out. Still, I think his forays into hosting television before that were quite good and more than a bit of it stands up today I'm sure.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Late Night Television

#357 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:58 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:17 pm
From what I have read on him he always leaned a little more to the right, but after 9/11 he became much more on the side of the then-current administration. Even after GWB was elected he called him something akin to "20 gallons of dumb in a 10-gallon hat". He did a stand-up special a little bit after his HBO show ended, and I remember him doing some jokes about climate change that really rang wrong, and that's when I checked out. Still, I think his forays into hosting television before that were quite good and more than a bit of it stands up today I'm sure.
Yeah, I remember him denying climate change many times in the '00s, he just refuses to believe it. Still does, I guess. In the '90s he called himself a socially liberal libertarian, which seems like a common philosophy among comedians from that time, whether they were politically active or not. (Among others, Bill Maher essentially called himself that too as late as 2000 when he appeared on Jon Stewart.) Al Franken may have been the most quoted source on this, but he repeatedly said, "everyone keeps asking me what happened to Dennis. Nothing happened, he's always been conservative on key issues," and Miller has said he voted for George H.W. Bush in 1988, supported Perot in 1992 and voted for Dole in 1996.

On one occasion, he stated his reason he gave for giving up on the left was when Admiral Stockdale was mocked for his infamous debate performance in 1992 - that's kind of the nature of comedy and politics, and he of all people should have understood that. But he made a good point that the guy was a war hero who was brutally tortured while serving his country, and as bad as his debate performance may have been, the guy wasn't a politician and it is pretty cruel to humiliate him for that. Maybe that's just his inclination though - going back to GWB, he once did an appearance where he actually said "he doesn't make fun of his friends" as a way of explaining why he will never make a joke at Bush's expense. He has a double standard, and he openly admits to it.

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