Late Night Needy: Okay, I’m making the rounds of the late night talk shows again, and coming up, ready?, Leno. On two nights this week, what a difference without that innocuously irritating ex-band leader named Kevin Eubanks, who drew away too much of Jay’s eye contact during the opening joke fest, as if Leno were playing more to Kevin than to me, the viewer. New music man Rickey Minor remained majestically silent, and I pray he stays that way. Then, more promising news: After the first break, Jay's desk bit was a howler; he spoofed ill-fated company mergers by holding up dispirit products and the oddball creations they produced. I was LOL. Now, if Mr. Jay will just stop his jay walking bits, he might have a future. Here's the anti-kicker: Leno's ratings in steady free fall since he returned to Tonight, though he still handsomely outdraws Letterman. But both talk shows trail "Nightline," so maybe TV's late nightaholics, down on all these talkies as stale, are onto something.
Crash Moreau Selectively Crashing? Why, me wonders, did our Crash, after taking in the Cole and Kelly-Miller shows, not leave one comment about either but only photos? Very unlike the verbiage he spends dishing out candid opinions of most circuses he crashes. Come on, Sir Moreau, tell us what rendered you a no-crash?
Ringling registers ringing at Coney? Though not up to last year’s artistically sterling opus, still this new show’s got more populist appeal, I’ll grant, and so my crystal ball sees better biz ahead at the seaside gig. Somebody out there, tell me I’m wrong...?
Crashing On: As for late night TV options, via VHS recorder I've now sampled both of the Jimmy’s, Kimmel and Fallen. Really tried. More than a single night. I guess both have potential, but both left me wanting. Leno is looking more like the returning champ. I still find Letterman’s opening the funniest overall, but after that, his desk bits, especially about his dull son, are so labored, rambling and ho-hum. As for restless late night addicts dissing "same old same old," he who can deliver the goods can endure the same old same old way. Yet to rejoin the mix, long shot Conan O'Brien, destined to drain some of Jay's fans and level the Leno-Letterman front.
Idol Judges: Not surprised that the two lady replacements were both dumped. They made, by default, sobbing Paula look oddly sympathetic and theatrically viable. American Idol will never be the same again; Imagine Lucy without Ricky, the Golden Girls without all the Golden Girls? That's what Idol has come down too. It was always about what Simon says, and his sidekicks were perfect compliments. Such chemistry is rarely reproduced.
What else? Paul McCartney, I am finally coming to grips with, has been taking Beatles encores for more than fifty years and counting. Singing the same great songs, which only reminds us that hardly has his post-Beatles work amounted to much, unless I've missed out. Something sad and frayed and time-worn watching him at the White House rousing the President's staff into a protracted and a bit lame "Hey Jude" sing out. That was never that good a
rocker. But Paul's one high point, post Beatles, "Band on the Run" got a terrific acid-rock workout from a singer whose name I now can't locate, making composer Paul sound subversively in sync with '60s hardliner rebels. Now, when you hear Sir Paul croon "Michelle," somehow you forgive the long winding largely lackluster creative read he has traveled alone since, and exult in what glories he gave us. To think, the most successful popular composer ever. And all of it achieved in such a relatively short period of time.
Big Apple Circus Intrigue: Can anybody out there tell me, who is really running this circus now? I suppose ultimately that answer rests with the board, and even they may not know, assuming they are not bored. I do hope they are less fractious than the Ringling-Barnum nut-go-round of directors during the turbulent family wars of the flaming forties. Was more than rumored that BAC co-founder Michael Christensen was to follow Paul Binder out the retirement door, which he evidently has not. Which muddies up waters of transition. The French guy supposedly now in charge, remember -- Mr. Dufresnoy, I think -- may be wondering as much as we are. What’s my point here? I can hear him muttering, “Okay if I now, at last, well, a little, can try maybe my hand at directing, let’s say a few of the acts. okay, anybody? Grandma, what were you asking me to do before Michael handed me his latest notes? Sure, sure, I’m all for it....But wait, where is the director on this? Which director? Oh, ah, ah, Gillet, Gillet ... Eric! You know; yes, Michael, Paul is on the line? Paul? Sure, I'll be right there! ...