Forget studying: try
by Christopher Hodge
Over the next month, we'll be killing ourselves with studying and essay
writing. This can only mean one thing: it's time for an examination of
the world's greatest study break late-night TV. Anybody can watch
one or two shows, but it takes a true master to watch all five.
11:37 Jay Leno's opening credits. Unless Jay has
some big-time guests or the Jaywalking bit (ignorant people = hilarity),
ignore Leno altogether.
11:40 Over to Dave. The half-hour long desk routines
can be hit-and-miss, but he can turn around a lame sketch by making the
skit's failure the joke itself.
11:47 Back to Leno. His monologue only needs Bastien
and a flying dog to become The Neverending Story III. I feel
sorry for Jay, but every once in a while he gets in an edgy joke that
makes you think that he's more than a generic corporate shill.
12:01 Top 10 list: only four will be funny.
12:07 The new kid, Jimmy Kimmel. The writing is
uneven, the guests are generally B-listers, and the gimmick of having
a new co-host every week can either prove to be great (Snoop Dogg) or
a five-day disaster (Adam Carolla). Other than that, it's pretty good.
Give Kimmel another month before he joins the regular rotation.
12:11 Leno is just about the worst interviewer
ever. He barely listens to his guests and he always seems to be thinking
of something else ("I hate my life, I hate my life..."). Dave
barely knows his guests' names, but that's part of his charm. Bonus points
when Julia Roberts is on, as Dave's obvious lust freaks her out.
12:37 It's Conan O'Brien time. You could do worse
than keeping the channel here for the rest of the night, since Conan is
the funniest of them all. He recycles a lot of the same jokes, but nothing
can top his routine of jumping in front of the camera like a big cat.
Conan can also make just about any interview funny, no matter how dull
the guest. He even had a good talk with Al freakin' Gore.
12:42 Over to Craig Kilborn. I used to hate Craiggers,
but his incredible smugness is growing on me. His routine about rating
movies based only on their posters is gold.
1:05 Kilborn's always entertaining "Five
Questions" bit. The worst score of all time is one correct answer,
shared between (among others) Kathy Ireland, Juliette Lewis and William
1:11 Conan's between-guests comedy bit. This will
either be the funniest, most random thing you've ever seen, or the stupidest
or, perhaps a combination of all three. Ah, the masturbating bear.
1:37 And now, if you're still up, Carson Daly.
Translation: get back to the essay.