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Well, I've finished watching Craiggers' last episode. I used to be an avid
watcher of his program when he first aired in 1999- mainly due to the fact
that I was a fan of his work on The Daily Show and also of The Late Late
Show's previous host, Tom Snyder (so the match-up of timeslot and host at
that point was seemingly perfect for me.) As time went on, as fewer and
fewer a-list actors appeared on the show, I began flipping over to Conan to
see some of his irreverent comedy. However, if for some reason Conan wasn't
delivering the goods, the TV went straight back to Kilby.
Craig Kilborn and his writers had a certain unique style when it came to presenting the show that usually engaged the viewers in a more intimate give-and-take with the show. It never tried to be the biggest show in its slot- it made do with the audience who stuck with him and who weren't too thrilled by Triumph the insult comic dog, or later by Jimmy Kimmel's brand of comedy. It was low-key, moderately higher-class humour than his competitors. It was late night comedy at its simplest- no sidekicks, no house band. And I gotta admit that the show did have one of the most comfortable-looking sets.
The show followed a generally regular pattern:
First, there is Craig's monologue. While the monologue was usually lukewarm at best for delivering the laughs (mainly due to Kilborn's horrible timing and rhythm of presenting punchlines), his "desk chat" sketches like A Moment for Us and the 90-second-zoom were always very kitchy and enjoyable. The "In the News" segment gave viewers a micro-version of his Daily Show routine, which were usually hilarious.
Then the guests arrived after the commercial break. Now, Kilborn's interviewing skills seem to have deteriorated after the Daily Show, because it always seems that he is not interested about who he's interviewing with, and subconsciously conveys that not only to the interviewee, but more importantly the audience. That, unfortunately, gives people the impression that Craig is some sort of jerk at times. However, one of the key jewels in the show's 5 year history has to be the 5 Questions game he plays almost every night with one of his guests. I consider it fascinating how some of his guests react. Some play along (like Sir Ian MacKellen's dramatic reading of tire changing instructions). Others seem non-chalant and don't really care how well they do- they just want to get out of the studio so that they can go on to the next PR gig.
All in all, though, the show somehow exuded a sense of nonchalantness to the whole Late Night show idea- it did whatever it wanted to do and had the most fun in doing so. And in that sort of attitude is where it managed to find its niche. People considered that sort of devil-may-care look at its place in the television listings as cool, while others may have seen it as careless.
However it was, it's all over now. Craig has decided to pack up and try out something new- and at a time when he was still somewhat strong in the ratings. Maybe next time he'll have some more decent writers back up his next endeavour. Maybe he'll just disappear into obscurity- where people won't even remember that his show was on the air at all. Whatever it may be, I wish him the best. His show was indeed an interesting alternative to the normal method of delivering a late night television program, and there won't be another show like it. And I, for one and probably only one, will miss that. I'm glad, though, that Craig ended his last show doing what he loves- and that is to dance, dance, dance.
CBS and Worldwide Pants now have the arduous task of finding out what's next for this little show after Letterman. Will it be the return of the one-on-one interview in the style of Snyder? Will it be more irreverent in order to get Conan's audience? Will it be something completely different that no one has seen before? Who knows (at the time of this writing)? All I know is that it has to be good in order to retain the Kilborn audience at the least. Best of luck to them.
Craig Kilborn seems to have a habit of taking a job, putting his style
to it and then moving on to something new. He did it on ESPN's
"Sportscenter." He did it again at Comedy Central's "The Daily Show,"
and he did it with this, his CBS Late Night talk fest.
To really understand what went on with this program, you have to know the history. Go back to the remarkable HBO series, "The Larry Sanders Show," where Garry Shandling played a self-absorbed emcee. At a crucial point, the fictional Sanders was looking for someone to host a program after his and the name he came up with was Tom Snyder. In a "life imitates art" moment, David Letterman brought Snyder in to host "The Late Late Show." Where Snyder was innovative and cutting-edge in the 1970s and 80s, his delivery and selection of guests for the late 90s were more conducive to a mid morning deadly dull radio program, and people were quick to tune out.
Meanwhile, Kilborn was building a reputation as an amusing character, doing interviews on "The Daily Show" and introducing his "Five Questions" quiz of guest celebrities there. When it was time to replace Snyder, Letterman plucked Kilborn from his Comedy Central job and installed him at the 12:30am slot. Craig's arrival at CBS may have surprised some, but it was clear that he was ready for this next step in his career. In early 1999, Kilborn signed on, with almost no fanfare whatsoever.
The critics didn't seem to get what Kilborn was attempting to do with the genre at first, and branded him a smarmy frat boy early on in his run. He was, in fact, probably the most underrated host in the history of late night television.
His set looked like an erudite bachelor's lair, with wood tones, a fully stocked bookcase, overstuffed and distressed warm leather chairs, a bar cart and a sound system where he could play the stylish music of Sergio Mendes, Antonio Carlos Jobim or sample the hits of a performer on the program. There was also a "windowseat," to which he brought several female guests to do some canoodling, most famously, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
When he was not figuratively or literally kissing up to his guests, the host of the show was clearly trying to do something a little different from other late night talkers. His affirmational concepts including his catchphrase, "Proud of you," were a constant, and he had a metrosexual air, even before that term became part of the vernacular. His attempt to bring back the Ascot was only one in a series of style choices, and he was typically well groomed, keeping a hand mirror as one of the props on his over-sized Bavarian Oak desk.
His heroes were the stars of Old Hollywood and 1960s teevee, and many made semi-regular appearances on the program. His "Tuesdays With Buddy" segment featured Borscht Belt favorite Buddy Hackett. Adam West, William Shatner and Merv Griffin all paid visits, and his final show featured a taped segment with famed producer Robert Evans. Also notable were the seemingly never ending parade of supermodels and starlets that visited, which gave Kilborn a chance to show off his boyish charm and Midwestern homespun manners.
Perhaps the most historic moment for the show came when, with the sponsorship help of Coca-Cola, they took the program on the road to the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four in 2003. A week in New Orleans was the first and only road trip for the program, and featured a segment where the modest Kilborn wandered around the French Quarter imploring women to keep their tops on, and permitted him the opportunity to show off some of his basketball prowess, since he was a member of his college team.
Kilborn had a taste of success with acting during the run of the program, including a well-received appearance in the big screen "slob" comedy "Old School," and that might have sealed the show's fate. He realized that he wanted to do something more, and hosting the program meant he would be tied to that desk, unable to continue to grow. He shocked many people (including some CBS execs and industry insiders) by leaving the program on August 27, 2004, a decision that was only made public a few weeks before his departure.
Many of the show's staff remained in place through the guest host trials that followed Kilborn's exit, and many stayed on for the program's ensuing incarnation: "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson."
When I was about eight years old, I used to tune in to Letterman or Leno
from time to time. While their juvenile antics amused me when I was
and on rare occasion still do to some extent-- I grew weary of their
repetitive, unfunny jokes and stupid skits. In my mid-teens, I started
watching Conan. I thought, this guy is succeeding where the others have
failed. But I also tired of Conan, and rather quickly, as I found his
as a comedian quite miniscule and his jokes monotonously shallow. I still
tuned in occasionally, but not more than a few times a year, because that
seemed to be the only way late shows could stay funny and fresh to
And then, about a year ago, my friend started nagging me to watch Craig Kilborn. I kept forgetting about it, and so he started taping episodes and making me watch them whenever I was over at his house. At first, though I noted Kilborn to be a skilled comedian with a very diverse portfolio of perfectly executed facial expressions, I didn't understand a lot of his jokes. This is because he has built his show upon a foundation of inside jokes that are sometimes rephrased and repeated a number of times within any given week. As a new viewer, I was unfamiliar with his inside jokes. But now, I feel they are one of the best parts of his show, because for an inside joke to be funny-- the audience has to KNOW what he is talking about. It makes you feel like a part of the show.
I treasure parts of Kilborn's show, such as In The News, Five Questions, and Yambo. Not only are these segments often the highlight of Craig Kilborn, they (more often than not) dwarf the competition in terms of wit, humor, and intelligence.
But the thing that makes The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn succeed more than anything else is Craig Kilborn. He has a style of comedy that is very self-referential, and he puts on the act of a vain man who thinks he is more important than he really is. He'll act like he thinks he's a big star, while in reality, he's really making fun of himself.
You have to hand it to him. This man with no announcer and no band has single-handedly created the greatest late-night talk show of our time.
If you don't like Craig Kilborn, then try watching it for a couple of weeks straight. If you're not converted by the end of those two weeks, then you're simply not American.
This show got off to a faltering start, but now, after close to two years on the air, I daresay "Craiggers" is developing something of a loyal following. His 12:30 counterpart, Conan O'Brien, probably possesses a greater wit, but the smarmy, irreverent Kilborn has harnessed that particular undefinable quality that makes for a funny late-night talk show. Mixing David Letterman's "ironic detachment" with deliberately lowbrow gags, quirky features like "5 Questions", "Yambo" and "In the News" (a carryover from the host's tenure with 'The Daily Show'), The Late Late Show has become quite funny and certain appeals to the 18-35 demographic... you'll be chagrined when you find yourself laughing at "The Ewok Guy" and goofs like "Craig Says The Wrong Thing To The Fish and Game Warden."
I used to watch Kilborn every night, but I find myself going weeks without watching Kilborn. I don't know but, it seems as if Kilborn is getting old and plus he has like one or two if he is lucky good guests a week, most of his guest are third rate people from third rate Tv shows. I don't know how long Kilborn will last, because I find myself watching Jimmy Kimmel way more and I know I am not the only one either. I think Kilborn needs to rethink the show and keep the jokes up, but find some guests I heard of.
The Late Late Show has a perfect mixture of style, cleverness and
The writers have conceived material that is freshly original and keenly
witty. The show has never-before-seen segments in talk shows, including one
in which Kilborn looks at the camera saying something completely out of
place... irreverent, yet original and funny, given a special touch to by
Kilborn's charm and talent.
As time goes by, it improves, which accounts for Kilborn's, the writers'
and the entire staff's hard work. They have now created a game for the two
interviewees of the night called "Yambo"... come on, just that name is
hilarious (it's also fun to say... try it yourself). Furthermore, the
quality of the jokes and the manner in which Kilborn tells them has been
perfected. Kilborn seems to enjoy himself more and is more assertive than
what he was a year ago. Kudos to him and the entire staff.
I earnestly recommend this show to anyone that can keep awake after eleven at night... actually, if you cannot keep awake after that hour, drink some coffee and watch it. Kilborn is sure to give you a few laughs (sometimes even those hard to get belly-laughs) before you go to sleep. I dare say that he will one day obtain the same degree of expertise in talk show hosting as Johnny Carson. I am enthusiastically looking forward to that. Great host, great material, great show.
Craig Kilborn always puts a smile on my face when I'm up late enough to see him. If you find yourself up late, I highly recommend watching this show. Unlike late night show hosts on other networks, Craig Kilborn has a personality and is easy to relate to. He looks and talks like someone I would actually know in everyday life. One of the best parts of the show is a skit called "What Up?". They don't do it every night but I wish they did. I've also discovered some good musical groups that have made guest appearances on the show. If you find Conan as hideous and unimaginative as I do, check out Craig Kilbourn for a refreshing change of pace.
Kilborn is the man!!! First, he is witty, he knows how to set the guest up to make a good zinger. He understands the true art of comedic timing. Kilby allows up and coming struggling models come on his show, helping out starving artists whose canvas is their bodies. To be able to put together such a great show from television city is quite an impressive feat. Especially with distractions like Bob Barker, his beauties and soap stars galore! I don't know how anyone could accomplish anything in that atmosphere. Kilby relates to the kids. He teaches us all how to act social when an awkward moment arises through his Yambo teaching tool. Kilby is sure to be around for years to come. I say Bravo Craig, Bravo.
The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn is probably the best show to ever hit the television. His charm, wit, sarcasm, and flat out humor will have anyone laughing along with him. I know that I'm definitely hooked and have been for years. When I'm not watching the show I'm thinking about it, and when I am, I can never get enough. Hopefully one day soon I will head down to Cali just to see a taping of his show, it's seriously that great. It takes a little while to get used to, because of the odd tactics used to make people laugh, but it is honestly addicting. Playing 5 Questions, pondering the actions of Opus, or watching as Craig says, "It's Friday and all I want to do is Dance. Dance. Dance." is all I need to get through my day. Thanks so much Craiggers!
Can Late Late' Bloomer and ex-Daily Show host Craig Kilborn replace Tom
Snyder? (Tom who?) Improve CBS' late-night numbers? No doubt. Challenge
Conan's ratings? That is the question.
Panic on the set of The Late Late Show: Craig Kilborn is having a bad hair day. And just three weeks before his much-hyped replacement of former host Tom Snyder, the notoriously meticulous Kilborn is not suffering imperfection (grooming or otherwise) gladly--even during a rehearsal. Encouraging words are offered; the network is thrilled with what it's seen so far. "I don't care what they think," mutters Kilborn, "it's what I think. I don't want to wing this."
A rather animated exchange for the usually unflappable Kilborn, 36, who cut his teeth anchoring two of cable's snarkiest talkers: ESPN's SportsCenter and Comedy Central's The Daily Show. But for all the loose, wry repartee on camera, the 6'5" blue-eyed blond is wrapped tighter than a mummy when he's off. "Craig is a complicated guy," says Daily Show co-creator Madeleine Smithberg. "I used to call him a TV savant. It's almost as if he comes to life on camera. Everything else is in the shadow of his TV persona."
Indeed, delivering a smarmy version of "Looks Like We Made It" by the piano on the show's new pseudo-den set (complete with functional bar--"We'll break some FCC rules," Kilborn promises), he visibly relaxes; he's a Mister Rogers for the after-dark crowd, having a Scotch and cracking wise about the neighborhood.
The irreverent Kilborn may seem an odd choice for the determinedly square Eye network ("He's hipper than CBS," admits its TV CEO Leslie Moonves), but really, what's the net got to lose? For four seasons now, its late-night ratings have trailed behind NBC's. Kilborn is certainly a better fit with lead-in David Letterman than the leaden Snyder was. And Late Night With Conan O'Brien proves there's a demographic (young men 18 to 34) eager to stay up late with a sarcastic white guy. The question is, will any of them be eager to flip? Kilborn diplomatically addresses the upcoming battle: "Conan's got a five-year start," he reasons. Kilborn adds that he'll be able to deliver "as long as expectations are low."
If Kilborn's cautious, you can't blame him. He's reticent by nature; a true Midwestern WASP, brought up in Hastings, Minn., he guards his past, revealing little beyond a lifelong desire to be a talk-show host (as a kid, he'd record monologues that his insurance agent dad would critique) and a lackluster basketball career at Montana State University ("I was a slow white player, and I still am," he says). But he's also been burned by the press, not to mention by his own occasional candor. He recently admitted to having an 11-year-old son--but only after a tabloid threatened to break the news first. And he spent most of '98 apologizing for a crack he made in Esquire about Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead (that she'd Monica Lewinsky him if he asked). The remark got Kilborn suspended; Winstead quit. "I made a mistake," he says. "It was a bad joke--and there will be plenty more of those when the show starts."
Clearly, there are still hard feelings. "The Daily Show was obviously a great platform," he says, "but from day one I wanted to leave." He frequently bickered with the show's writers over his role, pretty much limited to making fun of the day's headlines. And he continues to fume over accusations that he didn't write much of his material, though he won't discuss it: "It's almost gossipy. And who the hell cares? Let my work speak for itself." Or listen to Rob Burnett, CEO of Worldwide Pants, producer of Late Late: "We knew we were getting someone very comfortable on camera. What we didn't expect was a guy with a million ideas."
What's certainly true is that The Daily Show has suffered since his departure. Despite the auspicious first-week ratings of his successor, Jon Stewart, Kilborn attracted a younger, more male audience. If he can do the same for Late Late, plenty of CBS execs will be willing to get down on their knees and, uh, thank him.
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