“Till I Hear You Sing”
Ladies and gents,
I may be biased as his first wife, Joanne, was a dear friend of mine, but I always had a tough time watching Johnny Carson on television. I just knew too much about the real Johnny to buy his TV persona. But to legions of fans he still represents the gold standard in late night television hosting. The platonic ideal. Smart, sophisticated, handsome, charming, and funny. A killer combination that put everyone – guests and audiences – immediately at ease. Well, the late night world has gone through another shake-up recently, and I’m here to say that we have found our new Johnny.
Stephen Colbert first caught my attention as the right wing bloviating pundit he created on “The Daily Show,” and later on “The Colbert Report.” His reputation as a comedic genius with, er, nerves of steel was solidified at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner when he gave then president George W. Bush the roasting of a lifetime by “celebrating” his “hero,” never once breaking character.
We knew he was smart, handsome, and funny, but we didn’t know if he’d be able to comfortably transition from factually-challenged neocon pundit Stephen Colbert to the real Stephen Colbert, whoever that might be. Well, now we know. The real Colbert is, indeed, sophisticated and charming, in addition to being smart, handsome and funny. So he checks all the boxes that Johnny did. And one more. Stephen possesses a palpable kindness that is unique in the cynical world of network comedy.
Last night I saw him sit down with Andrew Lloyd Webber, discussing everything from musical inspiration to arts education. Last week I saw dance world superstar Michael Flatley show him a few moves. And, of course, his show has become a vital stop on the presidential campaign trail for the likes Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and everybody in between. Intelligent conversation is, as the kids would say, trending again in late night!
Tidbits from around town…
Spotted Emma Stone leading the standing ovation at Hand to God.
Watched Carey Mulligan waiting in line at the Walter Kerr Theatre box office, home of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
Overheard Joel Grey discussing the cover design of his upcoming memoir, Master of Ceremonies, at Sardi’s.
After a sold-out performance of Clever Little Lies, Marlo Thomas talking TV then and now with Matthew Weiner, the man behind the “Mad Men”, and “Orange Is the New Black” auteur Jenji Kohan.
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!