In the brand new book about The Tonight Show with Jay Leno by show producer David Berg, one of the many memorable guest anecdotes involves how Quentin Tarantino in 2003 hit “The Jay Bar” cart a little too hard and paid the incoherent, frenetic price.
Reading about that brought back memories of an even more epic artifact from the annals of late night slosh. Back in September 1970, Dick Cavett – on an ABC show shortened to 45 minutes from the usual hour and a half by Monday Night Football – welcomed Husbands director John Cassavetes together with the film’s co-stars Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk. From the get-go, it was a triple-shot challenge for Cavett, who handled it with amazing wit and grace.
The host was especially funny before and after the commercial breaks, at one point welcoming back “our friends on the Emmy Award committee” and pleading, at the end, that his guests “go do the same things to Griffin and Carson.” At another point in the program, Cavett walked off stage, with Falk taking over as interviewer and the host finally returning to the sounds of the audience chorus ‘We Want Dick!’
In The New Yorker recently, Cavett revisited this epic, must-watch-if-you’ve-never-seen interview:
I could not believe it, while it was happening. I think I watched it a year or so ago, and it seemed even worse than I remembered it…
But it’s hard to deal with three people. When one person is being an ass, you can pretty much deal with him, or I can — and people who do what I do better be able to — but with three the focus was so diffuse.
Cavett goes on to share with Elon Green the hilarious line directed afterwards at the shameless trio by a very unhappy movie producer.