Without a doubt, the late night television scene has changed.
It’s more interactive now. There’s more action, and less interview time. It caters perfectly to this generation’s limited attention span. Every bit in late night TV is just short enough to be made into a viral video.
In that regard, Jimmy Fallon is absolutely killing it. He’s brought games and skits to the Tonight Show, and it’s made him extremely popular.
But as much as I love Jimmy, there’s something lacking in his show — intelligence. Jimmy’s brand of comedy does not involve much thinking. Nor are his interviews hardly thought provoking.
And that’s why I appreciated Dave Letterman so much. He could tell a stupid joke with the best of them, but he also could have a serious, smart conversation as well. His show featured not only actors and musicians, but politicians, CEOs, Purple Heart winners, authors and documentarians. They were knowledgeable people, and it was brought out by Letterman in the interviews.
Jimmy Fallon had Chris Christie on his show a few months ago, and I’m pretty sure all they talked about was ice cream.
Now that John Stewart has also left the scene, who will fill that void left by Letterman?
Enter Stephen Colbert. The man has proven his intelligence during his nine-year run on Comedy Central. He won’t be covering strictly politics anymore, but he already has shown his desire to accommodate his guests to his eclectic tastes — his first week of guests will include not only actors George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson, but presidential candidate Jeb Bush, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and author Stephen King.
You see, now that’s interesting. I want to hear what these people have to say. Sure, it’s fun to watch Bradley Cooper and Wiz Khalifa square off in a game of Pictionary, but every now and then, I like to be intellectually stimulated.
So I plan to give Colbert an extended look. I’ll still tune into Fallon — don’t get me wrong, the dude is funny as hell — but beginning Sept. 8, my first inclination will be to turn to CBS.
Conan O’Brien is a smart dude — a Harvard grad, in fact — but the man is doomed to TV purgatory on TBS. Even one of his longtime lead writers jettisoned his show to join Colbert.
It’s the same goal I have with this blog. Make people laugh and learn at the same time.
Or cry. Mostly just cry.