Tag Archives: Joan Rivers

Late Night Mayo…

Today’s announcement that CBS has chosen James Corden to replace Craig Ferguson as host of The Late Late Show has interesting timing, coming the day after the funeral for Joan Rivers, who was the permanent guest host of The Tonight Show and later host of her own late-night talk show almost 30 years ago. No woman has risen as high in the late-night realm since, and this is a roster that includes Jimmy Fallon.

When I was in high school, there were three late-night TV series (I’m ignoring the failed Pat Sajak show): Carson, Letterman, and Arsenio. Their names alone are sufficient to describe the differences in their approach, guests, and overall content. Now we have literally six straight white guys doing a variation of Letterman (and arguably not even classic Letterman, who used to interview Chris Elliott as “Marlon Brando“). I guess there’s an audience for six brands of mayonnaise. 

Judge Corden on his own merits, of course, but let’s please cease the “well, he must be brilliant if CBS hired him instead of a woman or minority!” It’s a new brand of kick in the pants to praise someone sight unseen for overcoming the burden of white maleness.

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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Pop Life


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Can we talk?

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.



Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Pop Life