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tv   The Story of Late Night  CNN  November 27, 2021 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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a tv show or on a moon base -- >> do not take off your seat belt. >> i forget about my bird. >> oh my god, i'll feed your bird, what's your bird's name? >> these workplace comedies, they hit us in a very deep place. >> next stop, the moon. and so it has come to this. >> i thought that johnny carson came with the tv set. >> what the hell were you thinking? >> dave was the new johnny, for me. >> i'm not exactly a computer, slow down. >> it felt edgy before i was probably old enough to appreciate what edgy was. >> you better be as good as letterman! >> i'll give it a shot. >> my heart dropped through my
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butt, exited my butt. holy [ bleep ]ing [ bleep ]. >> this is madness. absolute madness. >> it makes every hair on my body stand up. >> we're on! >> but nobody's late night host until they are one. ♪ ♪ tomorrow we'll drown out the negative voices that have health us back too long. >> fires leading to violence, five people are dead -- >> the end of an era. after ruling late night television for 30 years, johnny carson steps down tonight. >> the buildup to the last tonight show was like a train that was going to be derailed,
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and all you can do is stand by and watch. >> here's bette midler. >> i can't believe it. the last. the last guest. ♪ quarter to three there's no one in the place except you and me ♪ >> this was johnny carson. this was what america knew for 30 years. there was that intimacy. ♪ and john i know you're getting anxious ♪ ♪ to close ♪ >> johnny's got a look on his face when she says "johnny, i know you are anxious to go." i thought, wow. that made me tear up. >> she was the voice for america that we all wanted to give him a serenade. how cool is that? >> and so it has come to this. i am one of the lucky people in the world. i found something i always wanted to do, and i have enjoyed
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every single minute of it. >> johnny carson was, and is i think, the high water mark. >> he was it. he was the only one. he was the one that i grew up with. >> he is late night. >> i byrd you a very heart bfel good night. >> and he walked out of the building and got in a helicopter, and that's the end of that. >> and i didn't know if anybody could pick up the flag and run with it. >> live from the nbc studios in burbank, california, "the tonight show" with jay leno. >> tonight show ended on a friday, we started on a monday, it was awkward. >> let's see how y'all feel in 30 years. >> when i started, i was doing johnny's show, exactly the way johnny did it in johnny's
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studio. but as the tv critic will tell you, i'm not johnny. >> who wouldn't be nervous following the king of late night, right? >> we are coming to you live. you are seeing this right now as it happens. we are not on tape. it's live, live, live. >> leno is making people laugh, very jovial. but anyone who thinks they can host a late-night show, you are an absolute idiot. because there is so much that goes into it. >> please welcome billy crystal. >> we had started out together at standups. now here we are. he's the host of "the tonight show." >> the buildup for this has been tremendous, and i just want to say, i'm going to miss you. [ laughter ] >> jay leno's first few months, people didn't like him. they thought he was out of his element. >> you know, from the beginning of the vietnam -- the vietnam war until today, our military used more explosives than were used in "lethal weapon" 1, 2,
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and 3 xwirched, unbelievable, all three combined. >> sometimes there was nothing to laugh at. he'd look at me and he would say, "thanks for that one." >> i did wonder at times if i made a mistake fighting for and believe until jay. >> one out of every three men is afraid of long-term commitment. if you asked me, one out of every three tv networks is afraid of long-term commitment. >> jay started with this huge pressure, a lot of nerves. behind the scenes, it was dramatic. >> jay's manager, helen kushnik. was the executive producer. to say helen is not collaborative is an understatement. that was war. >> now that his trial is over, suicide doctor jack kevorkian wants to guy a band new car. sick and tired of driving that old van of his, he says it's nothing but a death trap. >> the early years of "the tonight show" with jay was
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pretty scary for those of us who had kids and families and houses. >> i am glad you are here and i am glad i am here. yes! >> it was a story every day in the trades, will nbc dump leno, where will dave go? >> don't mind me. i am just a temp. >> when johnny carson retired, after being on "the tonight show" for 30 years, it was an old field. hence the intense competition between jay leno and david letterman. >> suddenly it became about, who got the show. letterman got it and leno was like, maybe i don't have a place in show business. >> he made it very clear up front that his dream was to someday host "the tonight show." >> it just didn't seem to make any sense of having jay leno doing an hour of a talk show, then i would come on afterwards doing an hour of a talk show. i felt maybe my time had come to step out of network television i said to dave, if nbc wants to put you on at 12:30 after jay
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leno, you'll kill yourself. i said, i have to get you an 11:30 show. and then the battle began. >> dave letterman started getting offers from other networks. >> david letterman was a king. >> you're pretty cocky in the middle of these negotiations, you have that kind of mid-negotiation multimillion-dollar glow about you. >> there were still a number of people within nbc who felt strongly that it was a mistake to let dave letterman leave. >> they agonized over the loss of david letterman. >> they still have letterman under contract for more than a year, and they said, maybe we should reconsider the original decision not to give dave the show. >> and before dave letterman jumped ship from nbc -- >> they wanted to make winn final move to try and get dave.
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>> they offer him "the tonight show." but he's only going to get it in a year and a half when jay's first contract is up. >> i said to dave, we can't go near that offer. that's total bullshit. because they'll get out of it. and dave was really confused at that point. >> and peter la salle says, you know what, dave, call johnny. >> and johnny said, if they treated me the way they're treating you, no, i would go to cbs. >> tell them to go to hell. >> the announcement designed to keep you up at night has now been made. david letterman says he is, for a price, switching networks, lock, stock, and stupid pet tricks. >> ultimately the deal that letterman wins is astronomical. >> cbs lured him over with a salary more than four times that of leno, and giving him what he really wanted, the 11:30 time slot. >> there was so much hype and
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buildup to launch on both of these shows. jay leno taking over from johnny carson, letterman getting this cbs spot. so all eyes were on them. [uplifting music playing] ♪ i had a dream that someday ♪
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♪didn't even notice,♪ ♪no punches left to roll with♪ ♪you got to keep me focused♪ when the show moved from nbc to cbs, we were all going to the ed sullivan theater. it felt like a viking ship. everyone was rowing.
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>> that's the relationship that we had. i think the staff was, you're all in. all that's a credit tocharismat. i would be in my office, and all of a sudden i would feel the jolt of electricity and i would look back and he'd be in my doorway. >> from the ed sullivan theater in new york city, it's "the late show with david letterman!" >> we're now in the big room. we can't celebrate figure the way we used to. we've got to be the show that doesn't have mistakes. >> if you think about it, all i really did was take the summer off. >> but at 11:30, letterman fans were worried that he was going to be neutered, defanged, that he wouldn't be the hip, subversive, kind of nasty guy. >> ladies and gentlemen, here he is, bill murray, bill?
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are you all right? >> i went to the other place. [ laughter ] >> but when bill murray took out the spray paint -- >> oh, this is nuts but it's going to work. >> that was kind of a surprise to all of us. you felt a very edgy show in the making. >> hey, everybody! it's dave letterman! >> a lot of late-night show hosts have had multiple personalities. and david letterman was just one guy. it's always david letterman. >> the next day, cbs starts went up 19 points. >> i remember being in dave's office after the first show. dave looking at me as if for the first time he realized, what do we got for tomorrow? >> this is our friend, rupert g., who owns and operates the hello deli right here in new
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york city. rupert, how are you doing? can you come on in here for a second? >> utilizeding 52nd street, the hello deli, was so damn funny and irreverent. >> put on the hat and the glasses. >> put dave was so famous, we often tried to come up with ways that dave could interact with the public without being seen. >> i'd like a quarter pounder -- >> i'd like a quarter pounder. >> a half pounder. >> and a half pounder. >> and a pounder. >> and a pounder. >> and these people turned out to be funnier, in many cases, than if you had booked a bold-faced name that would have been on the top of the marquee. >> and dave? >> yes, sir? >> i don't have enough money. >> with letterman, i felt like i was watching a thing that hadn't been on tv before. >> okay, what would you like, ma'am? >> i told you, the three cheese pizza sale. [ bleep ]. >> it felt edgy before i was
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probably old enough to appreciate what edgy was. >> and a burrito supreme with no meat. is that correct? >> she's gone already, chief. >> i actually went to go see david letterman. >> and now, david letterman! >> and dave was great, and paul shaffer was awesome. i remembered looking at the cameras going, hopefully it just turns around and i'll be on tv! and i remember taping it at home, and i'd bring it to parties. and it was like a white blur. and i'm like, that's me, dude, i'm on television, didn't you see me? >> all we were ever told was that there was no way that our show could compete with jay's show. but in the first year, we became the number one show. so cbs was delighted. >> for the first time, the entire history of late night, nbc is not in first place. >> meanwhile, they're trying to
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figure out, who do we want in the 12:30 time slot after jay leno? >> they would have given the show, the 12:30 show, it's tore garry shandling or dana carvey. jon stewart was also in play. >> but a lot of talent just felt -- it was too frightening to try to step into the shadow of david letterman, who at that point was the hottest thing in show business. >> my feeling was, you had to drop down a generation. and when you're looking at people 30, there are very few people with any seasoning or experience. so you go, well, who are the best people i know right now? >> lorne called me up and thought, conan will have good ideas, he can be the producer. >> conan had been here on "snl," was a writer, he was truly funny. >> but conan o'brien, since he was a boy, literally had dreams of being a late-night talk show host. >> when you're a kid, you naturally start running through
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your checklist. i'm not a good athlete. i'm anxious. i have a weird name. so then i found that i could make people laugh. >> and then he said what he really wanted to be was host. >> he had no experience. >> i was kind of surprised that lorne went along with it. >> begrudgingly agreed to a screen test. and then, of course, he didn't have a jacket. >> i met him at his car in the parking lot. he took out of the trunk of his car a rumpled sport coat. >> it was vaguely white, as i remember. >> a white linen jacket. awful. >> thank you for coming. >> how could i miss an opportunity like this? >> it's not often you get to share camera time with me. >> there you go. >> in the middle of the mimi rogers interview, conan said -- >> people always say it's tough to be a model --
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>> you know what, i'm not talking about this. >> well, it is. >> in that second i thought to myself, this guy's got it. >> that's the end of my mock show. if that's all i ever get, it was a lot of fun, i had a good time, thank you very much, good night. >> all i remember, it felt right. >> there were flares. there was a spark. >> couple days later, i picked up the phone. and it was my agent. and he said, you got 12:30. my heart dropped. through my butt. it exited my butt. >> if we had been fully aware of the scrutiny, the pressure, you know, what was at stake -- we would have gone bananas. >> i mean, that's hard. can you imagine? taking over for david letterman. >> it was crazy. to this day it's one of the craziest things i think i've heard of in television.
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big night tonight, huh? >> oh, yeah. >> lot of pressure. >> so they say. >> my suggestion was to have everybody that you say hi to say -- >> hey, you better be as good as letterman! >> i'll give it a shot. >> do do! happy music. then i go in my dressing room. >> you're on, mr. o'brien. >> now, or do i have a minute? >> right now. >> ouch. >> the first night, we were walking on air the entire show. >> we're on tv! >> calm yourself, you're a professional now, we can't act like guys that are too young to be on tv. >> letterman was iron and i can detached. that was the answer to carson. this show needs to be sillier. >> we did this bit where i played bill clinton. maybe my favorite moment in my whole career. >> what you got there in that mug? >> uh -- you wouldn't be interested, mr. president, it's
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just some hot, creamny cocoa. >> cream of cocoa, i love it, let's have some. >> just the kind of idiocy we could have never done on "saturday night live." >> all right, here you go, mr. president. >> sometimes you just need conan o'brien and andy richter doing something goofy. >> you don't want to main me angry! >> stop it, andy, it's not funny! >> i didn't know how to be a talk show psychic, he didn't know how to be a talk show host. >> andy is not an ed mcmahon, he's not a yes man. andy goes for the joke. and if you're insecure about being the funniest person out there, don't have an andy richter. >> hook what you did. >> oops. >> and i just loved everything about that. still do.
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>> conan was the voice of a new generation. we weren't really even watching letterman anymore, that was like for older people. >> it was the tv critics it didn't speak to. >> in the first six months, conan looked like a fighter in the ring. it was like the eighth round and he was just taking body blow after body blow. >> i saw some pretty crummy stuff about myself. it says, like, talentless lump of shit. wow, that's me! >> we're only getting 13-week renewals. >> they wanted to do even less than 13 weeks. >> they were renewing us in one-week chunks. >> what are you doing? that is the unfunniest show on tv. >> what i thought was, this guy is in big trouble, and this is not going to last. >> and i kept saying, leave it alone, he's getting better. >> the point where we really turned a corner was complete
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unannounced surprise. >> ladies and gentlemen, david letterman. >> everybody watched that show. because, oh, dave is coming back to nbc, but he's not doing anything with jay. >> i think you've really done a great job to carve out a wonderful identity for yourself. and i really, really appreciate that. i think you did a nice job. >> well, thank you. >> our big brother, dave, came in and stuck up for us. >> and i was just, you know, oh! turning point. >> audiences got better. finally we got a longer renewal than 13 weeks. >> and then somebody who worked the network went to visit his kid in college and realized that everybody that age was talking about that show. >> i'm hearing from college kids, like this is their guy. conan o'brien. they love him. and slowly, very, very slowly, conan started to find it.
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but jay is still getting his ass handed to him. i was scared to death. >> dave beat our brains out for two years. and there were certainly questions on the part of my colleagues at nbc, what are we going to do about jay leno? >> i was really worried that the show was not going to make it. >> let me ask you a question. when prisoners watch shows like "cops," do you think they root for the criminal? what do you think? come on, get over the fence! oh, man, oh, oh! >> on the worst day of the tonight show and the worst, horrible conditions, you're still writing jokes and you're laughing. and i said, all right, let's see what we have to do to bring this thing out of the hole. >> jay has this ability to plow forward. like nobody i've ever seen. >> i have to hand it to jay leno that he's the one who said, we're going to win this thing and i'm going to work harder.
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at that point, helen kushnick had been fired. >> we brought in debbie vickers. >> i didn't and i have in common we are hard workers and we'll do whatever is in our power to get better. jay's strength was the monologue and joke telling. >> jay felt in studio 1 in burbank, the audience was too far away from him, the band was too far away. so we got a new set design. >> jay now is working closer to the audience. we've extended the monologue because that's where jay's muscles are. >> i can't help thinking, if you're a peeping tom, right? of all the people you could go after, why pick madonna? what part of this woman haven't you seen already, you know? >> jay was rolling. it was like, tonight i felt like he was in a club, he was doing standup.
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>> jay's show had gotten really good. it was really strong. but people were sampling it yet. >> and then there is the night where hugh grant comes on. that night turned the whole tide of late night television around. and it never stopped. limitless length plus volume. sensational from every angle. lash sensational sky high mascara. only from maybelline new york.
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it's very hip to be on the internet right now. >> i ask you to join me and the president in working for fundamental change in america's health care system. >> if it doesn't fit, you must acquit. >> british heartthrob hugh grant was arrested early this morning in hollywood for allegedly picking up a prostitute on sunset boulevard. >> the most important element of hugh grant showing up on "the tonight show" with jay leno was that he showed up. >> we all assumed he would cancel the appearance. >> jay anticipated that. and jay called hugh grant. and said, i think ultimately, this story goes away if you don't hide. >> please welcome, ladies and gentlemen, hugh grant! [ cheers and applause ] >> nevadinstead of having the u4
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million viewers watching that night, we had over 10 million. >> let me start with question number one. [ laughter ] >> everyone wanted to know, what is hugh grant going to say? >> what the hell were you thinking? [ laughter ] [ rim shot ] >> oh my god, you couldn't have said it better. >> as you know, the hollywood community was shocked to learn that this type of thing was going on. >> jay kills it. the whole show. >> well, i mean, obviously very -- so many bad things about it, i don't know where to begin. but one of them was, you know, the embarrassment i caused the people have been working with the last year on this film. >> when you embarrass tom arnold -- [ laughter ] >> at that point in july 1995, jay became carson-like. he became the voice of the viewer. >> and from that day on, jay leno and "the tonight show" are number one. a late night crowd is back at nbc. >> dave hated losing.
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he became more and more tied up in what the ratings are. >> it's a life-sized dave letterman doll. look at that beauty right there, isn't that good? there you go. [ laughter ] >> jay's crossed us. this had a very big impact on the mood of dave and the show in general. it was the only time that i ever thought he was uncomfortable on the air. i just think he felt that people didn't want him there anymore. and i said, you're johnny carson today. and when you tune into johnny, you expect him to stand there confidently and tell jokes. >> okay, time to fly the cards -- >> and i think that he started to realize, you know what? yes, this is not getting me
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anywhere. >> and i went through this for about six months. and oh my god. >> how were you able to work every day, being depressed? >> i had to push through it. >> could you be funny? >> well, as funny as you can when you're depressed. >> nobody ever disliked anybody. i mean, dave did a lot of jokes about me. and i did some about dave. and it was fine. if it's funny, everything is off. it's fine. as long as the joke is funny, that's good. >> be right back! don't go away. >> in the '90s, the networks are still the powerhouses. the titans. >> what the -- >> change is sort of inevitable. if you don't watch out, it will come and bite you. competition was coming at you from all directions. >> and what we have is an explosion of late-night television. >> you were reading a lot of pieces that said, why do we need more of these shows, don't we
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have enough of them? >> there was a chevy chase show that lasted i think a week. >> it's time. >> arsenio was on top of the world in syndication, then one day arsenio was gone. >> i wasn't the guy that was supposed to do it straight through. i was supposed to go away and have other experiences. >> and i loved tom schneider. because it just gave me a real love for the art of conversation. >> in 1991, you were quoted as saying, if i, little richard, were white, there never would have been an elvis presley. >> i still believe that. >> now cable networks are coming in. >> bill maher was doing "politically incorrect" on comedy central nightly. >> thank you! >> msnbc was starting to do their 24-hour news. fox was starting to come in. you had cnn, 24-hour news. >> network executives, they never took cable all that seriously. they don't see that as a threat. >> but we're going to try to
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get -- >> i remember i was in a bar and 'twas the night of the first gulf war. and all of the tvs were on the war. and like there was theme songs and graphics. ♪ there was all these hot people reporting on a war. >> a very divided congress over the weekend gave president bush the authorization to eject iraq from kuwait. >> i remember thinking to myself, are they reporting on a war? or trying to sell me a war? >> and it was kind of like, wait a [ muted ], what if we pretend we're network news? >> i was like -- sold. wow. >> i think we're geniuses. like, we knew that, eureka, we had found it. "the daily show."
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i can turn my sleigh north because my job here is done. it's not magic that makes more holiday deliveries to homes in the us than anyone else, it's the hardworking people of the united states postal service. hello and welcome to "the daily show." my name is craig, and i have soft features. >> craig kilborn was a trip because he was so smug. >> seagal isn't the first action star to throw his hat in the music ring. you may remember sylvester
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stallone's "love songs for mouth breathers." and jean claude van damme's "coerced prostitutes." >> we did not have a point of view. what we had was the sort of adolescent, awkward bones of "the daily show." >> the show did pretty well. >> one day we were shocked to learn, you know, he was going to be leaving. >> eventually, tom snyder retired. and worldwide pants, david letterman's production company, hired craig kilborn to be the host of "the late late show" on cbs. >> and now we had to start all so far. and one day i got a call from a comedy manager and he says, hey, man, you think about jon stewart for this thing? >> jon stewart had an edgy late-night talk show that started on mtv. >> that jon stewart, man, he's
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rad. >> i think i'm balling for you. >> he had that really important thing which is why he broke early. he had charisma. >> this is "the daily show with jon stewart," the most important television program ever. >> john had vision. jon had a point of view. >> you're out of order, he's out of order, this whole trial is -- sexy. >> it was a departure in style, in tone. it was a political show. >> and the show always stood out, it's just the place to get the news in a weird kind of way. >> today witnessed the start of the united nations millennium summit. >> giving new yorkers a chance to get in touch with prejudices they didn't even know they had. >> what it did do is fill a void that nobody knew there was a void. >> election day. the day to choose a new president. for a new century. >> with the 2000 election, "the
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daily show" really broke into a new threshold. >> stand by, cnn is moving florida back to the too close to call column. >> we don't just have egg on our face, we've got omelette all over our suits. >> it could still go gore's way, it could still go bush's way. >> the nation's voters went to bed last night not knowing exactly who won the presidential election, and they're going to wake up that way as well. >> it has been a historic evening. we've seen nothing change. >> there's no outcome to the election. >> you ever seen anything like this before? >> hold on, i'm getting some breaking news here -- from my wife. it seems that my little girl just took her first steps. and i wasn't there. >> the bush/gore recount, we had a month of that. like, for example, election officials looking at hanging chads. that's inherently funny. we had a bit about how close it was on the supreme court. >> steve, what can you tell us
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about this supreme court decision? >> my bit was that it was 5-4, but in kennedy's mind it was incredibly close. >> as you can see, gore locked up the justices' cerebellum and orbital perculum, while the orbital areas were bush country. if you look at the southeast portion right here, you can see justice kennedy's all-important occipital lobe was simply too close to call. horrifying, just horrifying. >> that was when the entire news media, they had to pretend it was normal. whereas we dealt in absurdity, so this was in our sweet spot. >> suddenly, jon stewart is topping a list of trusted journalists. which is very weird. >> he was doing comedy with the genes of a journalist. >> a more serious world demanded a more serious style of comedy.
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really tackling what was going on. >> and some of that might have rubbed off on letterman's show. >> dave was getting older. as he was getting older, he's getting deeper. he's becoming a more serious guy. >> wait till you hear what happened to me. >> in 2000, letterman had a heart attack. >> so it was five weeks ago today that these men and women right here saved my life. and -- [ applause ] >> he became even more open to things. as a person. and i think that translated into work, and it became a different guy. >> here's this sarcastic, biting guy. >> dave the irreverent prankster -- >> i couldn't have been more proud when these guys carved their initials in me, honest to god. >> he used his pessimism, his
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emotional darkness, and transformed it into comedy. >> something terrible happens, these guys still have to come on that night and do a show. unless it's just something off the charts terrible. >> and i can remember sitting with jay and writers, and we were all just kind of like looking at the tv screen just stunned. >> 9/11 is such a shock to the country that television itself could not go back on the air. >> people were so afraid at the time that we weren't going to be able to be funny.
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after something so horrific had happened. >> i know for the first few days we were wondering whether we would ever do a show again. >> the decision to go back on television after 9/11 was extremely difficult. no one knew what to do. no one knew what to do. the one that people turned to was david letterman. voltaren, the joy of movement. [upbeat music] ♪ i am what i live my way the new eau de parfum intense giorgio armani walmart's deals for days isn't over yet. this cyber monday is your last chance to score big online
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xfinity rewards are our way of thanking you just for being with us. enjoy rewards like movie night specials, xfinity mobile benefits, and the chance to win tickets to see watch what happens live. hey, it's me. plus, get holiday gifts for everyone on your list with great deals on fan favorites from today. join over a million members by signing up for free on the xfinity app. our thanks. your rewards. late night at first
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struggled with how to confront 9/11. david letterman's a new yorker. his show is in new york. and so for him it felt very personal. >> by 9/11 he had all this respect because you had these younger late-night hosts who grew up with him. he was this father figure. >> and dave said i think we'll come back monday, september 17th. on that day he said to me how much time do i have for this? and i just remember saying as much as you want. >> it's terribly sad here in new york city. we've lost 5,000 fellow new yorkers. and you can feel it. you can feel it. you can see it. it's terribly sad. terribly, terribly sad. >> he didn't tell you what to think. he didn't explain away this tragedy. >> it was dave honest ly hurtin and making it a little easier for all of us. he became a voice for us in a different way.
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>> and it's very simple. there is only one requirement for any of us, and that is to be courageous because courage, as you you might know, defines all other human behavior. and i believe, because i've done a little of this myself, pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing. >> it was the first time that i can remember that a monologue made you cry. >> there was nobody better to share what we were all feeling. >> and he opens up late night. he opens it back up. >> we're going to try and feel our way through this, and we'll just see how it goes, take it a day at a time. >> after 9/11 when david letterman came on the air, and i think that made it like -- us feel like it was okay to continue with our lives. >> it definitely altered i think the tone of the way people felt that they could talk to their audience. >> and i've never, ever felt more unsure or more at a loss
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than i do tonight. >> i just -- i wanted to tell you why i grieve. but why i don't despair. >> you saw a late-night host being sort of raw and human. but then bill maher really takes it up a level. >> a few years earlier abc brought bill maher over with his "politically incorrect" show. >> we have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. that's cowardly. >> and that offends so many people. >> staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, not cowardly. >> maybe a few years later he could get away with saying that. but he said it right after 9/11. >> his show was "politically incorrect" but that was a little too incorrect for abc. >> if i had to choose between
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losing my soul or losing my show, i'm glad i chose losing my show. and i never sold out. >> getting into political waters is never from the network perspective what you want a late-night host to do. this was really about what type of artist was the right talent for abc going forward. >> abc had a blue-collar identity. and jimmy kimmel fit that profile extremely well. >> i was a little surprised when i learned that jimmy kimmel was going to take the late-night slot at abc. >> now the host of "the man show," adam carolla and jimmy kimmel! >> jimmy kimmel did "the man show." >> i never thought like, well, one day my career might go to this place and i have to be careful. >> you know, i'm a busy guy, and sometimes i just don't have time to get loaded. that's why i love shotgun beer.
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>> there was an everyman quality to jimmy. there was a likability to jimmy. and these are all qualities that i felt were enormously important. >> and in a blink of an eye i was on stage. >> we're on! >> it didn't make a whole lot of sense, but i guess none of it does really. i mean, nobody's a late-night host until they are one. >> there are no nude women in the film? >> yes. >> are you so tired of hot naked starlets that it doesn't even faze you anymore? nobody wants to see that. let's put more sam rockwell's ass -- >> when you get a late-night talk show you want to make it different, which is the first mistake. >> i don't know why that format still works, but it does. and i think that when people break from it it doesn't. >> i didn't stand up and do a monologue. i didn't wear a tie. i mean, everything we did was wrong. >> i'm not sure we're ever going to top this one. guinness book named him the hairiest man in the world.
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♪ edelweiss ♪ ♪ edelweiss ♪ ♪ every morning you greet me ♪ >> we let the audience drink. the first night in the middle of the show someone threw up. >> is it asking -- why do they call the town embarrass, minnesota? >> i don't know why they call it. >> all right. >> in the first months of the kimmel show it was a rough road. ♪ >> kimmel did not appeal to women. so he had struggles. but like most of these guys he had to find his voice. >> there were plenty of conversations about what changes should we make to the show. to reach a broader demographic. >> when on the rare occasion that i look at a bit of video from that first year it makes every hair on my body stand up. >> all right. we're back with marilyn manson.
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so -- >> i was really hoping that abc would cancel the show because i felt like i can't do this anymore. i can't deal with so much stress. >> have a good weekend, everybody. i'm getting the hell out of here. good night. i'll be honest with you. it's beginning to look like i'm not going to get "the tonight show." >> when institutions move from one caretaker to another, there is upheaval in people's lives. >> hey, trevor. >> what's happening? >> could you give me like 20 more minutes? >> the internet has changed everything. >> we didn't know what we were doing. ♪ we could have had it all ♪ >> and then late night is hit with the biggest challenge it has ever faced. ♪ time for social distancing,


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