Dropping back in on Late Night Hosts



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  • Dropping back in on Late Night Hosts

    At the start of this pandemic (13 weeks ago? Two years? It's hard to keep track.) the late night talk show hosts were forced to do their shows from their homes, sans an audience. I talked about how uncomfortable Stephen Colbert said he was without getting reactions to his monologue. Kimmel seemed the most comfortable.

    How are they doing today?

    Note: I don't bother with Jimmy Fallon. The wide-eyed puppy who will do anything to please act leaves me cold.

    Trevor Noah seems to have adjusted. To me, he's getting better every week.

    Colbert still seems really awkward. He's so clearly just reading off a teleprompter and at times he'll deliver a punchline and do little dance moves that just look creepy. Maybe it's his way of holding for laughs, but it's like your grandpa doing the Macarena at a Bar Mitzvah reception.

    Even the camera angle, which points down at him, makes it seem like he's in a well calling for help.

    But when he steps aside from the monologue and just delivers straight social commentary he suddenly gets way better. You just get the sense this is more in his wheelhouse. He had a rant recently about how the government's attempt to squelch the demonstrations won't work that I thought was brilliant. It was delivered with passion and eloquence and I want to say to Stephen Colbert: "Do THAT every night. We've heard your Trump impression to death. Just be YOURSELF.-

    Or better yet, be Jimmy Kimmel.

    Jimmy Kimmel does a spectacular job in this format. Yes, he too is reading off a teleprompter, but you'd never know it. It really feels like someone casually talking just to ME. He's clearly sooooo comfortable and so conversational that you yourself can relax and enjoy. He's the Mr. Rogers of late night.

    Kimmel also offers social commentary that often hits the mark, but he's more like a guy you're having a beer with than someone conducting a seminar.

    As I've said before, I believe a lot of that comes from Kimmel's radio background. He's used to being in empty rooms talking into a microphone. But I also think it's just a natural ability. You either have that comfort and warmth or you don't.

    And I should say at this point that I don't know Jimmy Kimmel. Met him one time very briefly as we were both going through a TSA line together. He seemed the way he appears on camera - low key and approachable.

    Is he as quick-witted as Colbert? I don't think so. As intellectual? If I had to guess I'd say no. But under these conditions, I think Jimmy Kimmel stands head and shoulders above his late night competitors.

    I might even suggest that when the pandemic is over, to distinguish himself, he staywith this format. Guests can come to his house. Why not? Do you miss the band? I don't. Do you miss orgasmic ovations for everyone who comes out on stage? Not me. At the moment all three network late night talk shows are exactly the same. Let Kimmel do something different; something he's better at than anybody else.

    What do you guys think?