Posts Tagged Dick Cavett
I love how the Daily Show has trended towards doing extended interviews that are posted in the site’s Green Room. This week they had a two-parter with comedic legend and new novelist Albert (2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America) Brooks. In the second part, its amazing to see host Jon Stewart in absolute worship mode and getting Brooks to talk about his lucky break on Johnny Carson (Brooks wanted to be on Dick Cavett, but they did not want him, believe it or not). Watch and be amazed.
Comedy is an art and seeing these two talk, however brief it may be, gives a glimpse of some of the history.
I have no way of knowing how Dick Cavett‘s brain is wired, but I do know the former TV talk show host thinks in a manner unlike few others. A recent blog post over at the New York Times is the latest evidence of his unique train of thought.
Cavett starts out acknowledging the death of Eddie Fisher, but makes it clear how little he thought of the late entertainer fairly quickly. From there, Cavett pays tribute to George S. Kaufman, with some great stories. I wonder if anyone edits Cavett on his NYT blog (I doubt it), but if they do, they did him a disservice. Any editor would have said to him, “yeah the Fisher anecdote is a funny one, but the guy just died. Save the Fisher story for another day.” I’m not writing this in a “you should not speak ill of the dead” way. I’m writing this in a “damn, Cavett, you really sound petty in writing about Fisher to the point it detracts from an otherwise interesting Kaufman piece” way.
So I guess what I’m suggesting is this: Go read the Cavett post, ignore the Fisher tripe.
I should have mentioned this earlier in the week, but due to the U.S. holiday, I opted not to run a new interview this week. Hopefully, you have enjoyed the slightly increased posting level this week, however.
I love a good interview, and Dick Cavett is a damn good interviewer. So is Charlie Rose. So a chance to watch the two of them talk (from back in 2001)–a good opportunity.
I hope you agree.
I fancied myself fairly well-informed about the art of comedy and the folks who practice it. But then I started reading some of Mike Sacks‘ And Here’s The Kicker: Conversations with Top Humor Writers About Their Craft, and soon realized I was not as informed as I thought. Sacks, who is presently on the Vanity Fair magazine editorial staff, interviewed 21 humor writers as well as a variety of editors and entertainment executives for the book. I was really impressed with the variety of writer he was able to interview–and I consider myself fortunate to get to interview him about the book. Please be sure to visit the book’s website as Sacks provides excerpts from each of the book’s interviews. With that in mind, I linked to each interview excerpt (and/or their respective website) when they come up in the discussion.
Tim O’Shea: Before your book, I had never even heard of Irv Brecher, and I considered myself a fan of the Marx Brothers (clearly not a well-informed one). Why do you think his name is not more widely known in comedy circles?
Mike Sacks: Well, I do think he was known within comedy circles, but only among those in a certain age demographic–or those who were very knowledgeable about Hollywood’s past. I guess it’s similar to younger baseball players not knowing much about the great players from the 30s and 40s.
Also, Brecher worked on two Marx Brothers movies (“Out West” and “At the Circus”_ that are lesser known than “A Night at the Opera” or “Duck Soup.” But I think anyone who is a professional humor writer (or even just interested in comedy) should acquaint themselves with Irv. He was an amazing man with an incredible career: from writing for Milton Berle to writing for the Marx Brothers to punching up the script to “Wizard of Oz.” He was also very bawdy and incredibly honest. It was great talking with him and I’m really happy I got the chance to before he became very sick.
The Internet is a big place, you may have read this obvious statement before. Why I write it this time is to somewhat reassure myself that I cannot be aware of everything. I’ve always been a fan of Dick Cavett. I was too young in the late 1960s/early 1970s to watch his late night show, but thanks to Netflix I have caught up on some of what I missed. So, imagine my surprise (given that I have been a regular NYTimes.com reader since its launch in the mid 1990s) that I was unaware that Cavett had been blogging for the website since early 2007.
It was Cavett’s show where Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal got into a vehement dispute back in 1971. Cavett describes it here as “without doubt the damnedest show I ever did. Or ever heard of.” There was also the time a guest died on the set (not on the air, as the show was never aired), as Cavett explained in an effort to dispute an obscure bit of folklore. It’s so strange to watch these shows now on DVD and see guests smoking–sure it was common then, but now, well it seems like people on another planet.