Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Jimmy Kimmel takes on Jay & Dave

Best of luck to Jimmy Kimmel who tonight begins his show at 11:35 on ABC. Personally, I’ve always liked Kimmel’s show and found his relaxed style refreshing. To be honest, in the late night wars, the best hosts were on at 12:30. Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon (whose show has more actual entertainment value than any talk show on television), and Craig Ferguson (who’s extremely talented but a little too impressed with himself for my taste).

Kimmel becomes the second member of the “new guard” to try to crack through the established prime time late night scene. Conan was first and fizzled rather loudly. But I think Kimmel is more accessible than O'Brien. Conan’s tongue is permanently imbedded in his cheek and although I think he’s funny, he comes off more as a spoof of a talk show host rather than an actual talk show host. The audience seems to prefer a real person in that role. Conan is now on TBS where he has kind of disappeared. When was the last time you saw Conan that wasn’t a promo on the baseball playoffs? Team Coco fans may outraged by me for saying that, but the truth is his show has underperformed in the ratings.  Doing better than George Lopez is not exactly an achievement.

Still, the impulse to give him THE TONIGHT SHOW was a good one. Younger viewers don’t relate to Jay or Dave. And I don’t think any talk show host is being slighted when a network gives him twenty years on the air for an outrageous salary. Johnny Carson, still the Mozart of talk show hosts, knew when to bow out gracefully. Dave and (especially) Jay will go out kicking and screaming. But make no mistake. They will go out.

Jay has always catered to the lowest common denominator. But for me, Dave has become a real disappointment. Especially considering how phenomenal he used to be. When Dave started he was the hardest working man in show business. He would constantly go out of the studio, do zany bits, and fill his show with goofy characters and features. Granted, a lot of the credit for this inspired lunacy should go to his head writer Merril Markoe, but Dave was game. And his ability to ad lib was crackerjack.

Look at him today. He’s this cranky old guy who plants himself at his desk, rambles on about nothing, clings to old chestnuts like the Top 10, and is so disinterested in the guests he interviews that you can almost see him glancing at travel brochures while they speak. I’ve said this before but audiences respond to comics who have the attitude You and Me vs. the World. But Dave has evolved into Me vs. You.

It’s time for new blood. New schticks. New band leaders. I think Jimmy Kimmel will be a breath of fresh air. And I hope his success will hasten the arrival of other young hosts.

One other point: late night ratings in general are way down from twenty years ago. More competition, more options (THE DAILY SHOW, COLBERT REPORT, MASH reruns), and let’s face it – Generation Any-letter doesn’t have the same viewing habits as their parents. Everyone’s fighting over a much smaller pie now. Good ratings today would get you canceled in the glory years.

So Jimmy, my best wishes for a good long run. And in twenty years people will be writing that you’re old and stale. But so the fuck what?


Mac said...

There's a cool "out to lunch" interview with Jimmy Fallon in the current Vanity Fair with the sub-heading: "Late-night star Jimmy Fallon is the strangest kind of talk-show host: a happy one."

Steve from Vermont said...

Personally, I like Steve Allen!

Charles H. Bryan said...

Thanks for saying what you did about Letterman. I used to be a huge fan of his show -- up until a couple of years ago, I had missed no more than 5-10% of his shows since he started after Carson on NBC. Going to a taping was on my bucket list. And then one week I noticed that he told the exact same joke -- not some reference bit thrown in for the hard cores like me, but the exact same set-up and punch line as if it were fresh -- in the monologue each night for a week and I just plain fell out of love. I haven't watched him since, and I don't miss him much.

Kirk said...

Young people may relate to Kimmel or Fallon or Conan because they're physically younger, but is the comedy really all that different from 20 years ago? All they're really doing is merely tweaking the David Letterman formula. Now, that's not to say Letterman himself should stay on the air indefinitely. While his age shouldn't matter, a bored attitude should.

Love how you snuck MASH reruns in there. And it's true! They usually do air late at night. And I, for one, will watch them. But at 51, I'm no spring (especially March sweeps) chicken.

Mr. ACE said...

Friday Question: I have heard many times some shows being described as smart. I was wondering what makes a smart show smart?

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Yea. You're right. Dave has evolved to Me versus You. Great observation. The only thing Dave is missing is a banner over his head that reads, "Get Off My Lawn."

I almost worship The Daily Show.


John said...

Listening to some of the excerpts of Dave's Oprah interview, not getting the Tonight Show still eats at him 20-plus years later, and when he first jumped to CBS, his bile at NBC and their dumb intellectual property claims on the bits and names from "Late Night" were a great source of angry comedy. But really, he's been losing steam since the late 1990s, when all the current bits the show does were locked into place and frozen in amber (on the other hand, while Dave looks bored Jay's always come across as slightly desperate, in that he'll run from bit to bit trying to find something that works even at the lowest level. It makes him more willing to please the viewers than Letterman, who has a take-it-or-leave-it vibe, but it does mean he gets locked into his own hacky routines).

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

I actually met Jimmy Fallon, while dining on Peter Luger Steakhouse, Brooklyn, NY, last October. Very nice person, approachable, even willing to take pictures.

As for demographics, I'm young and I still enjoy Letterman.

On the other hand, I can't stand Leno. Now, there's one host who overstayed his welcome.

I admit I enjoy Conan, even if he's more of a spoof than anything else. Every time I hear his name, I feel an urge to rewatch Simpsons episodes like Marge vs. The Monorail or Homer goes to College.

That goes double to the college episode, which Conan mentioned it was written with a simple premise: that Homer's perception of college was based on bad Animal House-ripoff movies. I burst out laughing every single time I watch it.

John Leader Alfenito said...

Jon Stewart, who I realize is NOT a Talk Show Host in the same sense as Leno, Letterman, et al, is the most consistently funny show host on TV for my money. His writers serve up several comedy gems every night.
Conan's disappearance is well deserved.

A_Homer said...

I thought it was interesting how Tina Fey was the main speaker for Dave's Kennedy Center Award, and Kimmel followed her, claiming huge influence and really revering Letterman. By default, as Conan wasn't there, he also looking like he was the likely follower.
Dave can talk to politicians, see what other hosts can really do that.

I think Kimmel is too regional, if not local, he doesn't feel big on the screen in a way Conan always had a sense of being part of big tv history (and was writing for Simpsons etc...)
Fallon is still not deep, and a skit, just imagine him with the presence of the Roots and half his "cool" program is gone. Laughing and snickering (at yourself) is not enough.

A_Homer said...

correction - "without" the presence of the Roots

Andy Ihnatko said...

I still enjoy Dave because I regard him as being present and genuine, night after night. Of all of the hosts in that kind of time slot, Dave's the only one who (to me) works under the premise that this desk is his career. He's not on a plane to a 1500-seat casino ballroom this weekend, he's not moving on to another phase of his career after this show is over. He doesn't blog, he doesn't do commercials, and if weren't for the Kennedy Center recognition, he wouldn't be out there doing interviews, either. He uses this one hour per day, four days a week, to be creative.

I, too, miss the days when Dave would leave the desk. I enjoyed 40-year-old Dave mowing people's lawns while waiting for them to show up for a surprise interview. But would I enjoy 66-year-old Dave doing that same thing? I'm not so sure.

A career like Dave's or Jay's or Johnny's is rare. There isn't a whole lot of precedent. Are there many comedians who kept reinventing themselves into their Sixties? Or did that just seem like a desperate and failing bid for approval?

I still watch Dave because there came a point, I think, when I started watching the show to see him, not his act or his material...if that makes sense. I enjoy seeing how he reacts and how he performs; even if it's familiar material, it's still damned entertaining.

Mike Bell said...

When I left my radio gig in Palm Springs to move back to Bakersfield (??!!) Kimmel was the guy that was hired to take my place. A few months after that I got a phone call from him. He had found a couple of recorded bits of mine and wanted my permission to use them. I was surprised that someone would actually take the time to call and ask. I said, "sure, go ahead." And Kimmel replied, "Great! I was gonna use them anyway, but I thought it was better if I asked."

Wayne said...

Good luck to Jimmie Kimmel. If he follows the path of Conan, in 7 months, they'll bring back Ted Koppel.

XJill said...

I very, very, very rarely watch late night television but the only shows I ever heard about the next day to youtube something are Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show and Craig Ferguson. I set the DVR when Craig does his travelogue shows.

A_Homer - I would argue Fallon was the one who hired The Roots because he wanted the show have a certain mise en scène so that argument doesn't hold up.

Alan C said...

I pretty much stopped watching Leno in the late 90s. It seemed like there was a Lewinsky joke every night and I got disgusted by it.

benson said...

@Kirk...keep in mind that Letterman himself was a re-invention of Steve Allen's Tonight Show.

Also, for what it's worth, it rare to find anyone who's been doing the same thing for what now amounts to 30+ years to not get bored. Yes, dropping old bits and replacing them with new ones would've helped, but still it would be quite a risky decision to, for instance, replace, portions (or maybe all) of his creative staff to freshen things up.

BigTed said...

I agree that Fallon's show has the most enertainment value -- he does the most complicated bits, including some excellent parodies and the funny songs. He really seems to enjoy interacting with audience members, and even the party games with his guests are fun in an old-TV way.

What I really dislike is that the vast majority of his celebrity interviews just seem like shilling for NBC. Jay gets any guests he wants, but Fallon's all seem to be associated with 'SNL,' '30 Rock' or some other network property. And while he seems to enjoy riffing with these people, it ends up seeming like one big infomercial for Lorne Michaels.

Hollywoodaholic said...

Good feature article (and cover) on Kimmel in the new Rolling Stone. Surprised to find out he's Catholic and somewhat religious. Not surprised to find out he smokes copious amounts of weed on the weekend and cruises by the Comedy and Magic Club in Redondo to see if one of Jay Leno's classic cars is in the parking lot (meaning he's trying out material). He also basically says Leno's stand up sucks now.

gottacook said...

Kimmel becomes the second member of the “new guard” to try to crack through the established prime time late night scene. Conan was first...

It was Letterman who was first, no? Of course it was nearly 20 years ago that he left his 12:30 show on NBC for the earlier slot on CBS. And just as with his successor Conan, moving to an earlier slot meant leaving behind some aspects of the humor of the "Late Night" show.

I loved the inventive first years of Letterman on NBC, the Merril Markoe years, and don't expect them to be repeated by him or anyone else.

Mike said...

Conan doesn't require huge ratings to be a success at TBS. He is very successful for a cable show.

Leno is the hardest working guy out there, and runs circles around Letterman as a result. His monologue is better because he works at it.

I've never found Fallon or Kimmel to be antyhing other than mildly amusing.

Katie said...

Craig Ferguson is my favorite and it's because he's the best interviewer. It's not prepackaged or talked about with producers beforehand. If it is, it never ever comes off that way. Now when I watch any other late night, or day time, show with interviews, most are hard to watch. And that's my favorite part of these shows - the interviews.

DwWashburn said...

Even in his heyday, I thought that Letterman and his staff took a Mad-Libs approach to writing comedy. Phrases which had absolutely no similarity were strung together and for some reason people thought this was funny.

As far as Kimmel, he has always seemed too arrogant for my tastes. He's had his moments (I still remember his Oscar special where he did his introduction while slowing going down a staircase on the left side of the stage and then walking up another staircase backwards while still reading off the teleprompter) but for the most part he has always come across as "I'm so funny, you'd better laugh" (just my interpretation).

To fill out the hosts, Jay has gotten lazy since he got back to late night, and Conan's whining about NBC is getting old. If I watch anything on late night, it’s usually Steven Colbert.

tb said...

I don't know about having to "go young" so the younger viewers can relate. I loved Johnny Carson as a kid.

KB said...

Remember, though, if NBC had given the Tonight Show, we wouldn't be having this conversation. None of the other networks would have attempted to compete for a long time..., and the chance they'd have been successful would be even lower. Dave would have been a little less iconoclast, sure, and NBC would have been more on his case, but his show would have more mass appeal today and be more successful. Possibly even more interesting ( think back to the first CBS years). Producer Robert Morton would never have been tempted to move the show to ABC, so Dave wouldn't have fired him. CBS might have snagged Jay, but that match would not have been as broadcast-savvy or classy. Or successful. What if?!?!?

KB said...

I meant if NBC had given the Tonight Show TO DAVE

A_Homer said...

@XJill "I would argue Fallon was the one who hired The Roots because he wanted the show have a certain mise en scène so that argument doesn't hold up."

But I think that point supports that Fallon or his agent was aware enough to know he needs to have some other entity alongside to provide him more cred, get the correct "youth" demo in, and basically help him occupy the stage with some presence. They work like diametrical opposites, he's best at liteweight Hollywood/TV interviews, while the Roots have their career. Whatever his intentions, it's still just his name, not Late Nite with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots. And him alone wouldn't stretch it in my opinion.

Scottso said...

Dave Letterman just shows up for the tapings and that's about it. In a WNYC-FM interview hosted by Alec Baldwin, Lettermen said that at his age, he can no longer do the kind of show he did 25 years ago, going outside the studio for bits, etc. I also find the monologs to be "too inside", usually making fun an audience member from something that happened before taping started.

chalmers said...

In Bill Carter's "The War for Late Night," he describes the skullduggery required to tape the Super Bowl commercial with Letterman, Oprah and Leno. In it, Dave complains to Oprah that the Super Bowl party is terrible, then you see Jay in the picture who whines, "He's just saying that because I'm here."

This was very soon after Jay got the Tonight Show back, and they had asked Conan to be in the ad, too. But Conan was still hurt and angry about what had happened and was offended to be asked to make light of the situation so soon afterward.

I'm not sure if that led to a cooling of the mutual admiration between Dave and Conan.

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

All the criticisms of Letterman ring true to me, but I'm still a loyal viewer. He actually disappoints me when he's not cranky. May whatever CBS exec makes him be nice to Paris Hilton live in shame. "Would you like a parakeet?" was one of the greatest TV moments of the last few years, and I miss Dave's Oprah Journal as much as I miss "Eatin' With Zsa Zsa" and "Dave works the drive-in". And I hope I never see that buffoon Trump on his show (or any other) again.

For those interested in some background to the Late NIght Wars, Marc Maron's interview with Jimmie Walker had some back ground on the agent of Leno's who was painted (I don't know how fairly or not) as the villain, generally really interesting stuff on the LA comedy scene in the early seventies.

Pat Reeder said...

Just finished reading Jimmie Walker's recent autobiography. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of stand-up or late night comedy of the 70s' to today. It has some amazing info about the early days of Jay and Dave. It also presents an admirable view of Dave that he probably doesn't want the public to know about, and a view of Jay that he would REALLY not want the public to know about. Example: after Jay spoke at the funeral of a comedy writer he'd screwed over, Jimmie quotes another writer as saying that Jay was the kind of guy who'd give a great eulogy at your funeral..."of course, he killed you..."

Me said...

Jimmy Fallon can party all he wants, smile, look good for the camera, be a nice guy, do some okay impressions. But when it comes to exhibiting wit or ad-libbing clever retorts on any kind of regular basis, if at all (what many of the vintage talk show hosts did) there's no there there.

Mike Schryver said...

It bothers me more than it should that they say the show is live when it isn't. Just starts me off in the wrong frame of mind every time I try to watch it.

Johnny Walker said...

As a Brit, I had no idea who Johnny Carson was growing up. Years later when I fell in love with The Larry Sanders Show, I caught up and learned about Carson and watched the Battle for Late Night TV movie, showing Letterman and Leno. It's crazy what went on behind the scenes!

I always imagined that Letterman would follow Carson's lead and step down after 30 years, but it doesn't look like that will be the case.

Personally I still enjoy Letterman when I see him (rarely). I may be behind the rimes, but last time I warched him he was still smart, funny and pleasingly genuine. I prefer watching someone who's honest, but respectful, than someone who's insincere. Maybe he's gotten especially grouchy in the last few years, and I haven't seen it, but it sounds like ending things while he's still somewhat respected might be the way to go.

Troy Donahue said...

I think Craig Ferguson is the best of all the late-night hosts. The improvised monologue is usually solid -- occasionally missing and occasionally being inspired. He actually listens to the guests, so he's the best interviewer.

I agree that Dave's Top 10 list thing is played out. I still enjoy him, though. Never got Conan. I think Fallon and Kimmel are okay...not great, not bad, but okay. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

And then there's Leno. His appearances on the Letterman Late Night show were brilliant. Hell, Letterman says Jay is the funniest person he's ever met. That may be, but he's not demonstrating it on his show. He's a horrific interviewer, the comedy bits are lame, and the monologue is rarely all that funny anymore. Time to hang 'em up, Jay.

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

Certainly Jon Stewart and Colbert are way above the rest--often brilliant--although they're not really late night talk shows. I try not to miss either one.

Of the late night shows, the one I try never to miss is Craig Ferguson. I can't stand Leno, and Letterman is just too snarky most of the time (although I do enjoy stupid pet tricks and when he has Jack Hanna and the animals on). Fallon and Kimmel are okay once in a while, but I don't feel compelled to watch them or Conan.

Yes, Ferguson is a little full of himself, and he tends to glom on to a routine and run it into the ground, but his monologue is always interesting, bringing up little known facts and riffing on them or sometimes being very serious, and his interviews are the best. He seems to genuinely listen to what people are saying, he talks about almost everything EXCEPT what the person is there to push, and he has people you won't find on any other talk shows to talk about serious subjects(Hugh Dancy's father, for example). For the most part, the guests seem to be having a genuinely good time talking about subjects they didn't think they'd be talking about. I usually tape the show and watch it later, and I am rarely disappointed.

JT Anthony said...

Agree with A Homer: Jimmy Fallon seems talented, but doesn't command the stage like the others; he lacks gravitas, and comes off as a lightweight when he's almost apologetic about his jokes like a high schooler might be when not sure if a joke is too risqué for an audience. Jimmy Kimmel is regional--and almost smug about his humor. Watched Dave the other night, and he couldn't have been more disinterested in the interviewee than he appeared to be. He's wickedly sharp with his retorts, which can also be arrogant and cruel, unnecessarily so (if he crosses the line, he goes deep and makes the scene awkward). Madonna interview comes to mind for some reason--can't remember specifics tho. Wondering if he's like famous athletes who don't know when to retire? Jay's schtick is the same-- occasional wit, but predictably canned--formulaic. Craig seems like a whack job during his monologues, but never seen him interview.

Wayne said...

Mike Schryver said...
It bothers me more than it should that they say the show is live when it isn't.

He can call it Jimmy Kimmel Live because it was once true a long ago. By that logic, he could also call it Jimmy Kimmel Screwing Sarah Silverman.

Mike Doran said...

I bring complete objectivity to this subject: I don't much care for anybody in the late-night sweeps.

What I find intriguing about all the reactions is how everybody skews the events in order to favor their pet host - and blame everything on the other one.

So let's start by placing the blame for the war where it really belongs.
On Johnny Carson.

Nobody seems to remember (or wants to) that in 1991, Johnny Carson's relations with NBC had deteriorated badly; all the execs he'd worked well with had either retired, died, or gone to work for him. The new NBC exec tier, demographic devotees all, were nickel-and-diming him to death on his content - and not trying to conceal their desire to replace him sooner rather than later.

Knowing this, Carson came to that affiliate bash and casually mentioned that he'd be leaving in a year - the first time any of the execs ever heard of that.
Left holding a double extra large bag, the suits had even less love for Carson than before.
In this light, you can see why they didn't ask Johnny whom he'd choose for next-in-line.

Add to that: as bad as Carson's relations with the NBC brass were, David Letterman's were worse.
Dave had a long history of treating the NBC suits with loud contempt, on and off the air.
Even if he'd had Carson's endorsement for the job. it's highly doubtful that Dave was anybody's first choice to get Tonight; some problems just aren't worth having.

All this is from Bill Carter's first book about the late-night war; he tries to play it all down the middle, but the actions of the principals speak for themselves.

Everything that's happened in the years since has simply compounded the situation into the persistent siege mentality we have now.

Marcel said...

Funnily enough, the German late night host Harald Schmidt started as a Letterman clone (plus bits of Conan), but found his own voice later on and had some fabulous years. I used to be a huge fan. Then it started to fall apart. In the end he was just full of himself. Became lazier, didn't do special bits anymore or really prepare for the show at all. It was a sad thing to watch. Sounds like the Original is now suffering a similar fate.

I grew up with Jay and Conan because in the pre-internet age these were the only two available in Germany. Never cared for Jay but Conan used to be super cool. Nowadays not worth my time anymore, though I still like the guy.

On the other hand I haven't missed a single episode of the Daily Show and Colbert for probably well over 7 years (also thanks to Comedy Centrals free streaming of complete episodes on the net). One can just wonder how they manage to keep the bar so high, it's incredible. As a result I'm also probably more informed about US politics than about our own ;-) (we do have a Daily Show clone now, but it's infinitely worse).

Jeff P said...

Late NIGHT w/David Letterman was one of TV's greatest shows ever..
Late SHOW w/Dave has sadly been flat since Dave started to wear the double-breasted suits.
Think about it.
I almost got the feeling he "dared" the audience to laugh at the jokes.

cadavra said...

Chalk me up in the still-watches-Dave camp. Frankly, I'd rather he sit at the desk and tell us what's on his mind rather than do another "zany" location bit. Those were funny once or twice, but then became just tiresome. And unlike the others, he IS willing to ask some tough questions. That makes him aces in my book.

And Charles: Dave deliberately will tell the same joke every night for a week. The repetition is itself the joke, like the ever-lengthening intro to Paul's annual rendition of "O Holy Night."

I also agree that Ferguson's show is crackerjack. He's really doing Soupy Sales (ad-libbed monologue, puppets, et al). But that very lack of structure is likely why he'll never get the 11:35 slot.

Bryan said...

In all fairness, Conan might have actually succeeded as the Tonight Show host had he not been usurped by Leno and and that idiot Zucker at NBC. Having Leno lead the 11 PM news was a disaster. He garnered ratings that were about the same as his Tonight Show ratings, but at 10Pm it wasn't nearly enough. Plus, people already got the Tonight Show at 10pm, so why stay up for someone trying to cover the same ground. And since Leno's lead-in for the news was weak, they lost viewers who never returned at 11:35 either. Conan, if treated by NBC the same way his predecessors were, may have had a chance.

Lou H said...

I'm not often up late enough to watch the talk shows, but whenever I watch they have the same damn guests on. Kimmel has Damon and Silverman, Letterman has Philbin, Leno has Schwarzenegger. It's like watching Qubo, where they constantly rerun shows that ran for one season. Can't we get some variety?

Charles H. Bryan said...

@cadavra No, I watched Letterman often enough to know that there were some bits that were intentionally repetitive, where the repetition was part of the joke. What I'm referring to is material that just seems lazy and reused, where I think the presumption was that no one had watched last night's monologue so we might as well repeat part of it.

Anonymous said...

Kimmel is a punk and along with Adam Carolla a vile misogynist.

He claims that Leno hasn't been a good standup for 20 years.


Remind me again how many years Kimmel and Conan spent in the standup trenches, doing the 2:00AM sets with nothing but abusive drunks in the audience, they ears on the road doing the circuit of clubs.

Oh wait, they've NEVER done that.

Because they are phonies.

I read the RS article about Kimmel and took note of the part where Kimmel talked about Jay;s calling him for several months and then stopping after his deal at NBC was reworked, and Kimmel was all "WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought we were bestest friends forevers!!!!!!!!!! And it was nothing but business????????? Fuck Leno!!!"

Yeah, no.


You can't play the "oh I am just SOOOOOOOO naive about the business of Hollywood" card when you've been IN THE GODDAMN BUSINESS FOR OVER 10 YEARS.

As for Leno, let's be honest, has he EVER been considered a cutting edge comic? Hell no. He has ALWAYS been mainstream.

Anonymous said...

I used to love David Letterman when he was on NBC. Somewhere along the way, he lost his mojo and I think he's boring as hell.

I think Conan is silly but not particularly funny.

I loved Craig Ferguson when he had the puppets but once he got the skeleton sidekick, I stopped watching him. The skeleton was boring.

Leno has some funny bits but he's basically a nonoffensive talk show host who attracts quality guests because he's nonoffensive. His video pieces suck compared to Kimmel's. I think Leno could use some new writers. (I live down the street from him. He should hire me.)

Jimmy Fallon is kind of silly, like Conan. However, he sometimes produces pieces with a higher production value than anything Conan has EVER done. (His Downton Abbey pieces for one.)

I like Jimmy Kimmel because he is nonoffensive (like Leno) but his show has a bit of edge to it. His video pieces are 1000 times better than Leno's. His political humor is a bit sharper.