Well, the late-nite wars are finally over and talk shows are languidly retreating back to business as usual: the long introductory monologues are back; celebrities have recommenced stopping by for 5 minutes of naked self-promotion; network names are once again taboo; ratings are back down. For all of its fury, last month’s spectacle doesn’t seem to have changed the somewhat tired protocol of late-nite TV. As Dick Cavett, one of the legendary talk-show hosts, explains in today’s interview, nothing will.
Cavett also provides some tips for aspiring comedians, including how to do an interview (hints: don’t make it an “interview;” and avoid anybody as brilliantly infuriating as Norman Mailer); how to write jokes, and how to get the courage to get up on stage.
The famed television personality also describes some of his most memorable interviews, from the seemingly mythical presence of Groucho Marx to the unique intelligence of John Lennon (which forged a bond between the two that scared Richard Nixon) and the pleasantness of Bobby Fischer.