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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Carson Daly - WHY?

Why does Carson Daly have his own late night show? I just don't understand. His show, Last Call follows the Emmy Award winning Late Night with Conan O'Brien which in turn follows the number one late night show for years and years - the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Leno is funny - he caters to a more mainstream crowd due to his earlier time slot so the show does not get too rowdy but it's classy and fun and - well - it's an institution in this country. Jay Leno has done a fantastic job of staying on the top of the ratings game for decades - and he started his career as a stand up comic - an entertainer. Conan O'Brien is just plain hysterical. His show takes full advantage of its later time slot with goofy, seemingly random sketch comedy, twisted humor, and his own right on the mark comic sensibilities. Conan began as a writer for Saturday Night Live - a perfect fit for the New York based late night show and showcase for the man's talents.

But as soon as Conan is over, another show comes on. It's the third in the lineup and I've come to believe the show that tells the nation, "Hey--it's time for bed. No more TV. We will now make you wish you hadn't stayed up so late." The show is Last Call with Carson Daly. The equation simply does not make any sense. Daly came into the public eye (as far as I know - and correct me if I'm wrong) with the MTV show, TRL (Total Requests Live). It was a format perfect for a clean cut and moderately hip HOST - not a COMEDIAN but a host. He stood around in New York and interviewed "hot right now" musicians and performers and introduced music videos in front of a wild live crowd. He was good at that job. He was a good HOST. He was not funny. He didn't need to be funny. He had only to show enough personality to fill in for where the screaming crowd and the rock stars fell short.

So now here he is: Un-funny, non-comedian, HOST GUY who was somehow given his own late night variety show. Writers write jokes for him but it's like watching Tiger Woods attempt stand up. He has guests but can never seem to ask them anything interesting and instead appears to hide behind his desk, growing visibly uncomfortable with any personality variance that might require improvisation or comic relief. As a matter of fact, I've seen him apparently make guests feel uncomfortable with his odd nervous banter as they attempt an on the air conversation. It is as though someone gave him the job assuming that hosting a show and hosting a late night COMEDIC variety show are the same thing.

How many great comics would love to have a chance at Last Call? How much talent was overlooked in order to decide on such a lackluster follow-up to NBC's late night classics? How much ass kissing and executive statistical chart reading had to occur in order to justify an attempt at creating a funny man out of a preppy but visible(?) snorefest with the swagger of a freshman journalist instead of giving the opportunity to a true comedian - a performer with charisma, a keen sense of comic timing, and showmanship that have made the variety show what it is since the beginning of television?

Seeing this guy on the air completely baffles me. Perhaps the executives sleep through that part of the broadcast and just check the stats on prime time. Or perhaps I'm really missing something. Anything's possible.

1 comment:

Ryan DeRamos said...

I totally agree. He's taken some awkward persona to try to be funny: The insensitive, dumb guy or something NOT to that effect. It's pretty sad when the monologue is just full of bombs.

Do you remember Magic Johnson's short-lived late night show? It's the same kind of sad.

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