Saturday, May 30, 2009

When Talk Shows Were Talk Shows

I have to wonder if Dick Cavett was getting in a subtle dig about Jay Leno's looming "retirement" in his latest blog post. Whether that's true, or the coincidence never even occurred to him: no matter.

The topic of his post is Jonathan Miller, about whom I knew nothing until half an hour ago, and about whom I now want to know everything. Cavett sketches some outlines of his Miller's biography as an introduction to the video clip he has posted, which is of Miller appearing as a guest on his show, in 1981. Among other marvels, I have never heard such a compelling discussion of Shakespeare -- without seeming at all highfalutin, it is genius.

It is a regret of mine that I never really got, nor got into, Shakespeare, so maybe what Miller has to say will not quite blow you away as much as it did me. And in any case, I should stop overselling, but I do want to say, the clip of Cavett interviewing Miller is light years away from today's endless parade of actors doing six-minute promos for their latest flicks. So, go read and go watch, and I hope you like it at least half as much as I did.


TC said...

Fascinating interview. Thanks for posting. I miss Cavet's show. Charlie Rose tries to do thoughtful interviews, but he's so serious and obsequious. Cavet had a certain wit and life to his interviews.

bjkeefe said...

I agree about Charlie Rose, and I'd add the adjectives stiff and pompous. Sometimes I like the way he does an interview, other times I think he forgets most people are there to focus on his guests.

That said, he's better than almost anyone else on TV these days. Sadly.

Glad you liked the Cavett clip.

bjkeefe said...

Just came across this in my old bookmarks: "'Charlie Rose' by Samuel Beckett."