Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: David Letterman (21-30 of 62)

'Conan' first-night review: Coco's so-so show

A little over nine months after leaving The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien gave birth to Conan on Monday night, and the baby arrived looking both familiar and a little tired.

Conan commenced with a taped bit about O’Brien’s departure from NBC, complete with READ FULL STORY

Joaquin Phoenix and David Letterman, round 2: Fresh put-ons, insults, and apologies

Joaquin Phoenix returned to  Late Show With David Letterman on Wednesday night for the first time since his February 2009 appearance. Last night, Letterman described Phoenix as “the dope in the beard” and “a side of beef in a suit.”

This time around, Phoenix was clean-shaven and trim in a sleek gray suit. “Whattaya got to say for yourself?” said Letterman in a mock-accusatory tone. Then he got down to it:

“Now, did I know READ FULL STORY

Joaquin Phoenix on 'David Letterman' tonight: A preview clip

Joaquin Phoenix returned to The Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday night. A clip released by CBS gives you some idea of the tone of the show, taped earlier today. Letterman says READ FULL STORY

Barbara Walters returns to 'The View': Guest David Letterman says he'd like to kill Jon Stewart

Barbara Walters returned to The View to kick off the show’s 14th season. Looking fit after heart surgery, she received taped greetings from celebs including Elton John and Justin Bieber, plus a big hug from a first-time View guest: David Letterman.

Letterman loves to talk about his decade-old quintuple bypass operation, and was delighted that Walters was willing to reveal a bit of her post-op scar. He talked medical specifics — “Did you love the morphine? Wasn’t that fantastic?” — but Walters wanted to steer the conversation to late-night matters.

Asked whether he minded that Jon Stewart READ FULL STORY

Here's who'll win the Emmys in the variety/musical and best TV-movie categories

colbert-stewart-obrienImage Credit: Martin Crook/Comedy Central/Frank Ockenfels 3/Comedy Central/Mitchell Haaseth/NBCThis week, we’re considering two categories; unlike previous weeks, I’m asserting who I hope will win, since who will win may very well be different.

In the Outstanding Musical, Variety, or Comedy series category, we have:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Colbert Report

Saturday Night Live

The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien

Real Time with Bill Maher

Who I Hope Will Win Jon Stewart plowed new ground this season, which is to say, he built up rage against so many worthy targets, and found fresh ways of expressing that anger through humor, that his show achieved a whole new level of comic effectiveness. He deserves the win.

Who May Win My colleague Lynette Rice has laid out an excellent argument for why Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show may take an Emmy. Never underestimate Emmy voters’ desire to catch a wave of public sympathy for a man who was wronged. On the other hand, in an industry town like Los Angeles, a lot of voters look upon Conan as a business loser, and that may work against him.

Shoulda been contenders Where the hell is the nomination for The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson? And The Late Show with David Letterman?

The nominees for Outstanding Made for Television Movie are:

You Don’t Know Jack

Georgia O’Keefe

Temple Grandin

The Special Relationship



Who should win Temple Grandin. Away and by far the best tv-movie, Temple Grandin featured a superlative performance by Claire Danes in the title role of the real-life woman with autism who became a significant inventor, and the film itself avoided any easy sentimentality and biopic cliches.

Who may win You Don’t Know Jack Never underestimate Emmy voters as suckers for a movie star: Al Pacino as Dr. Jack Kevorkian gave a fine performance; it’s just that Temple Grandin was a better production overall.

Shoulda been contenders The TV-movie genre is in such poor health, there should actually have been fewer nominees in this category; the excellence just isn’t there these days.

So what do you think of my picks? Do you think Stewart can win over Conan? Do you think someone else should win?

Follow: @kentucker

Bristol Palin's engagement gift to David Letterman: A fresh bouquet of Sarah Palin jokes

The news that Bristol Palin is engaged to Levi Johnston found David Letterman as pleased as a five year-old ring-bearer. In his opening monologue last night, Dave made a number of jokes about the renewed union, saying that Bristol had READ FULL STORY

Lee DeWyze on 'Letterman': Refuses to concede that Simon is 'a psycho'

Lee DeWyze ambled onto The Late Show with David Letterman last night, and you knew Dave was going to like this year’s American Idol winner more than he does most Idol contestants, because DeWyze READ FULL STORY

'Lost' on 'Letterman': See a preview of tonight's 'Lost Top Ten'

As Dave explains the show here, Lost was about a flight from Milwaukee that mysteriously landed in Hawaii… well, Lost gurus Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof do a better job at dropping spoilers during this peek at a Top Ten airing on The Late Show tonight:

Good Michael Emerson cameo, yes?

Conan was asked to be in Super Bowl ad with Leno and Letterman, and Leno bombs at White House Correspondents dinner

1. I didn’t think it was possible to come up with a worse comedic performance than Rich Little’s, at George Bush’s 2007 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, but last night Jay Leno managed to be not merely less funny, but also seemed uncharacteristically irritated. He rushed through one tepid joke after another. When many were met with only mild laughs, Leno resorted to that oldest of comedian complaints — he actually said, “Ooh, this is a tough room.” No, tough was sitting through jokes about Betty White being as old as Abraham Lincoln:

2. Few media outlets and Team Coco seem to have picked up on a choice bit of trivia David Letterman dropped on Friday’s Live with Regis and Kelly. Letterman, prodded by Regis Philbin to rehash “the late night wars” once again, brought up the Super Bowl commercial in which he, Leno, and Oprah Winfrey squabbled on a sofa. Dave, who was amusing while joshing with Regis and Kelly Ripa, dropped the kidding for a moment and gave us a glimpse into how mini-events like this come together.

Letterman said that originally, his idea had been to have Conan join him and Jay on that sofa. But Conan declined. The quotes re. Conan occur about nine minutes into this clip:

I suppose the insults O’Brien had endured by NBC and, by extension, Leno, were too fresh in his mind to permit him to share furniture-space with Leno, but really, where were the man’s comedic instincts? Think of how much more amusing/squirmy/talked-about this spot would have been with Conan in the middle.

3. Conan on 60 Minutes tonight. Having seen the same clips you have, I understand the misgivings my colleague Kate Ward has about Conan coming off as a victim tonight. But two observations in advance: His beard really works in the 60 Minutes context, and wouldn’t it have been more typically Conan if, instead of being interviewed by a 60 Minutes correspondent, he’d asked to take over Andy Rooney’s spot for the final minute (“You know what I hate? I hate it when a guy gives you his show and then tries to take it back… “)?

Follow @kentucker

For more: Conan on ’60 Minutes': Will too much NBC-Leno talk turn him into a victim

Courtney Love on 'the Letterman years': 'I did a lot of coke, pills... I go to 12-step meetings'

Courtney Love appeared on The Late Show last night for the first time in six years. She blamed her long absence from the show on what she half-jokingly called “the Letterman years.” She recounted a bleak time when “I did a lot of coke back then… I took pills…. I’ve been a rock person for a long time,” she admitted.

Love said she’d gone into rehab soon after her 2004 Letterman appearance, during which she imitated Drew Barrymore’s famous READ FULL STORY

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