Aisha Tyler on the idiocy of qualifying “blackness.” The relevant section begins at 7 minutes into the interview; although it’s also worth watching in its entirety.
Richard Pryor and Steve Martin talk on The Tonight Show in June of 1978. It’s rare to see people actually conversing on talk shows today. It’s usually over-rehearsed bits, which are especially obvious when the guest is a stand-up comic. You can trace the shift in format to David Letterman, who never seemed comfortable in interviews and often looked like he wished he was anywhere else.
Guest hosts are also rarer now. Jay Leno takes few vacations, and Letterman and the rest just throw on a repeat. I believe the last instance of high-profile guest hosts on a talk show was when Letterman had heart surgery.
The new material that Pryor says he’s “woodshedding” would become his double album Wanted and film Live in Concert.
Joan Rivers celebrated her 80th birthday on Saturday (I’ll avoid the obvious jokes about the age of the majority of her body). When I was a kid and there was no school the next day, my parents would let me stay up to watch The Tonight Show or, as we all called it, Carson. If Joan Rivers happened to be hosting, my parents would race to change the channel. I loved her back then, though. She was hardly the prim and proper companion to the charming, Midwestern Johnny Carson (Betty White, for example). She was outrageous and overtly New York (the standard euphemism for “Jewish”).
This clip is from one of her Tonight Show monologues in 1984. It’s a time capsule of early 1980s Hollywood, which she skewers along with herself.
I haven’t followed her E! network career, but I did enjoy her appearances on Nip/Tuck. Now, that was inspired casting.