U2 lit up late night last week, visiting CBS’s Late Show to goof with David Letterman and perform five nights in a row. I was surprised by how funny the “on hold” sketch and Top Ten were — Edge’s ad-libs about Sting were particularly good.
A visit from Jon Stewart was icing on the cake, as he and Dave compared notes on hosting the Oscars.
While I’ve barely ever caught Conan O’Brien on NBC’s Late Night, I wish him well in his Tonight Show gig. There’s a much better chance I’ll be checking him out than Jay Leno, whose annoying voice, lousy interview skills, and terrible stand-up delivery should utterly disqualify him from hosting a talk/variety show. No offense to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, but as hilarious as “I’m F---ing Ben Affleck” was I still usually forget about it.
For me the modern gold standard is Letterman, who’d be the first to tell you that he’s not the beloved Johnny Carson yet is true heir to the man’s throne. Craig Ferguson has actually staked out some new territory following Dave on CBS’s Late Late Show with his long, associative monologues and freewheeling celebrity chats. I’m already booked come the midnight hour, though, being addicted to Comedy Central's one-two punch of The Daily Show and its spinoff The Colbert Report, which often get played back on the weekend.
However it all shakes out, I try to end my day with laughter.