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Writers' strike forces late-night hosts to improvise

Beacon Newspaper (subscription) - Miami, FL, USA - Without the safety net of their writing staffs to help them craft their jokes and construct their premises, many late night talk show hosts have been forced to wing it as the writer's strike has entered its fourth month.

From "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" to "The Colbert Report" with Stephen Colbert, the late night hosts have been forced to rely more on their wits and charm than jokes, and the results have ranged from the brilliant (The Colbert-Conan-Jon Stewart 'fued') to the awful (everything Jay Leno has done, which, is actually, not a big change from normal pre-writers' strike Leno.)

By far the biggest beneficiary of the writer's strike has been O'Brien, a former comedy writer himself whose over-the-top persona has allowed him to run wild during the strike.

Instead of trying to replicate the formula the show has followed over the last few years, O'Brien's self deprecating humor has allowed him to embrace his lack of sketches and just kind of let the show run itself, doing everything from interviewing members of his own staff to hosting a race to predict the winner of the Super Bowl featuring turtles strapped to rocket powered remote control cars.

On the other hand, O'Brien' NBC predecessor Jay Leno's show has faltered. While Leno has never been my favorite of the late night hosts, I've found his work during the strike to be pretty terrible.

Often relying on gimmicks such as the "Jaywalking", Leno's show has particularly suffered since he's been doing the writing himself.

Stewart has shown his ability to work without the benefit of jokes and sketches, particularly in his first monologue following Sept. 11, which remains one of my favorite television moments of all time.
Source : Originally Published Beacon Newspaper (subscription) - Miami, FL, USA, Feb 11, 2008
Celebrities : Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brien, Stephen Colbert
Categories : Talk Show Hosts, Political Commentators, TV Personalities, Comedian News, Celebrity News
Posted 2/11/2008 12:02:22 AM | Permalink
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