Not particularly plagued with insomnia, and relocated from the Central Time Zone that placed "late night" television at 10 P.M., I seldom watched the comedy shows that followed Carson's. Jay Leno didn't have the zip, the pertinence or the impertinence, that Carson had. David Letterman never moved me. I did enjoy Conan O'Brien--what happened to him anyway?--and adore Craig Ferguson's antic Scottishness when I do happen to find myself jolted from sleep in the wee hours.
Now I have a new love in my late nights. Jimmy Fallon has been on a while, and his talent has long intrigued me. I liked him on Saturday Night Live and often switched from Ferguson to him, back and forth, in my surfing in the night. He's got the big spot now, taking over Johnny's show after Leno left, and the reviews are good. Fallon is a comic actor who uses the television medium superbly, often just changing the look in his eyes to get laughter. He can do imitations, funny voices, and he knows what he wants to say, always coming across as the sassy kid from the neighborhood who is going to do well when he figures out what he wants to do in life.
He's followed by Seth Myers, also a Saturday Night Live alum, a smart comedian with a good attitude and a bit of an edge. Myers did the "news" spot on SNL, and I had thought of him as a natural to work on The Daily Show, as he has that savvy touch with the topical and the instincts of a writer as well a knack with a laugh line. He was the perfect emcee at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, a dubious gig at best, and I was looking forward to seeing how he would be with his own talk show. I have since caught it and I agree that he's a worthy addition to the late-night lineup. Affable, intelligent, he brings a cerbral skill set to an interview, and he makes the viewer feel comfortable in the eternally cool medium of television.
Now I'm watching the late night comedians at the time of my choice, and I must say these two new entries are very encouraging about the state of the world. When the reality is oppressing and terrifying, society creates great comedians to help us through. They are here, folks. And I'm watching again.