Night After Night with Allan Havey was simply the funniest, wittiest, and smartest late night program ever. How could this be? How could a show on a network with no ratings, no one watching (not even Allan Havey), and zero budget be good? Because they were out there just having fun. "Shaggin' and baggin'" as it were.
The format of the show changed over its brief lifespan from the old VJ style where Havey would introduce comedy clips--the format of the original Comedy Channel--for over 2 hours. He didn't get much time to be funny, but when he was on it was almost always magic. However, as the original format wore thin, NAN shrank to an hour long talk show. But it was more like a concept piece than a talk show. There was no audience (save the later added Audience of One), and he spoke directly to the camera from his comfy chair. There was no desk in front of him, but rather to the side. This open format has not been tried before or since. And the openness of the stage was reflective of the openness of Havey.
I doubt they ever did a pre-read for interviews. He has the skill of Larry King to get celebrities to talk off-topic without the ingratiating self-congratulatory style. Almost all the conversations came across as two friends hanging out, and we, the audience, got to be there with them.
But, on to the most important part of the show: The funny. Nick Bakay, announcer and co-host, was the perfect foil for Havey. Where Havey was genuine and sincere, Bakay was smarmy and full of himself. Where Havey is, well, not too bright, Bakay is a savant of arcana. And they were at their best when working together and against each other--such as the brilliant Freddy the Frog episode. Imagine an entire show improved around a failed sketch about a stuffed frog. There's nothing I can say that can illustrate just how funny it was, but me and my friends still quote that to this day (over a decade on). "There's no more joy! There's no more frog!" "'Nick's making more than me? How much are you making, Freddy?' 'Twenty grand a week!' 'Twenty..heh [starts laughing]'" Whatever, it's funny.
Maybe someday Allan Havey will be able to return to TV. We need his subtlety and his wit. We need someone to say, "Ten dollar haircut on a ten cent head." We need more shaggin' and baggin'.
Most of all, we need Len Pal.
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