CNN's longtime resident old dude will host the final episode of his long running talk show tonight, and even though we haven’t watched an episode since Anna Nicole Smith was hot and alive, we’ve got to admit it. We’re gonna miss the old man.
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By Danny Gallagher
10. He’s old school
Call me a male chauvinist who longs for the days when women were confirmed to kitchen and smoking was good for you, but I miss the old school days of journalism and broadcasting. Reporters got their stories by listening to drunk senators in bars brag to underage waitresses about the money they stole from an appropriations bill and TV news anchors went through two combs a day getting ready for their broadcast.
King might not have gotten his start as a hard-noised reporter or a good-looking anchor, but this disc-jockey turned talkmeister grew out of those golden age days of TV and it was just nice to know that it didn’t completely leave my set entirely just because time is a straight line. Although it would have been to watch ol’ Lar down a couple of shots on the air and hit on Angelina Jolie.
9. The death of the Larry King impression
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The beauty of the Larry King impression is that anybody can do one and sounds accurate. You know that guy in your office who always loves to hide around corners so he can pounce on some hapless sap and corner him or her into hearing his latest abomination on your ear drums? Even he can do a halfway decent one that doesn’t want to make you staple a “Go away” Post-It on his face.
Everybody in the entertainment business has one and you can too. You just talk as low as your voice will allow, throw in a little Brooklyn swagger and make your throat sound as though you are about to throw up a handful of hot gravel. Now you’ve either got the perfect Larry King or an impression of the aunt in your family who smokes two packs a day in between hits off of her oxygen tank.
8. The blow it will deal to the suspenders industry
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The rest of you horizontally challenged Americans might be able to keep your pants up with a simple belt, but the rest of us have had a lot of problems keeping our pants in the proper position (the same goes for flashers and Britney Spears).
Now that the industry’s last unregistered spokesman is leaving the airwaves, what will happen to these holy gifts for the wide girthed? Their lack of exposure will send the economic output of the suspenders company into a death spiral and millions of pants will suddenly fall without warning. I’m sure it will be the only time that Rush Limbaugh hopes there’s a government bailout in the company’s future.
7. One less place for Lewis Black on television
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Larry King never really had a sidekick on his show, but if he did, Lewis Black could easily fill the chair next to the host desk. The two are almost a comedy team in and off themselves with Larry as the straight man, setting up Lewis’ endless rants about everyone on Capitol Hill and candy corn.
The two also seem to go back awhile and have great chemsitry. Sure, Lewis is still funny after all these years on The Daily Show, but when he’s on Larry King’s show, he has someone to bounce his spittle-filled material at in a conversation. It’s like watching an angry terrier and an old bulldog have a conversation if dogs could talk and wrap their heads around the concept of the capital gains tax.
6. His hot wives give the rest of us hope
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Are you a homely looking sort? Do women look at you and laugh at the mere thought of spending more than a minute trying to get to the know the real person behind your ugly facade? Do you have a back hump that mountain climbers often mistake for an unchallenged summit? We’ve got the cure for your blues.
Ol’ Lar has had SEVEN ex-wives and all of them are blonde and achingly beautiful. He’s been married, attached, or re-attached to a former Playboy bunny, two smoking hot TV stars, and his latest ex-wife to be, Shawn Southwick, could make your fat friend’s trophy wife even more anorexic than she currently is.
5. You’re nobody unless you’ve been interviewed by Larry
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There are tons of barometers for show business success (i.e. getting your show or movie spoofed in Mad magazine, getting your hand print in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, getting a rehab gold card, etc.), but the only constant in the last 25 years has been an appearance on Larry’s show.
Just about every great name in the last quarter of the 20th century appeared on CNN’s late night line-up (not counting the breaking rehab stories on Showbiz Tonight) and even if you just turned out to be a flavor of the month, Larry could give you your taste of the big time. Of course what you did to get there is up to you and given that Larry King has interviewed Monica Lewinsky, I’d rather not try to imagine what fame tastes like.
4. “The Larry King Game” won’t be the same
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Go to any bar and you’ll find all sorts of inebriated patrons wasting their minutes away playing “bar games” like “F***, Marry, Kill” or “Would You Rather?” These usually lead to heated discussions over trivial matters like “Was Bea Arthur doable if you had enough whiskey” and usually ends with someone taking a beer bottle to the face or having to make time for a court appearance.
Comedian and Chat Show host Kevin Pollak invented the least argumentative and most fun bar game in recent memory called “The Larry King Game.” Players such as the guests on Kevin’s show do a bad Larry King impression (and as we’ve already proved, there is no such thing), reveal somehting embarrassing that Larry might reveal on the air, and go to the phones with a caller from a funny sounding town (example: “My grandmother is 205 and God bless her, she farts glitter, Bogalusa, Louisana, you’re on”). Now that Larry is gone, it’s kind of sad to know that he won’t be around to endure such humiliating mocking. Then again, what do you care? When you’re playing it, chances are you’re already too drunk to notice.
3. His replacement: Piers Morgan
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Let’s be honest, the time is right for Larry to leave. He’s getting on up there in years and the ratings for his show haven’t been so hot since cable news became a clusterf*** of screaming faces and crocodile tears. So CNN figured the best person to replace him was a judgmental prig who gained fame by pooping on the heads of talent show rejects.
Morgan might be known to us Yanks as the Simon Cowell-lite judge on America’s Got Talent, but he actually has a news background. Unfortunately it’s as the editor of a sleazy British tabloid and he got fired for that job for printing a story that wasn’t entirely true, which is like getting sacked by Popeye’s for making too much cole slaw. Time will tell if he’ll be a good interviewer in the same vein as Larry, but you can sure as hell say goodbye to any chance of guests that don’t have some kind of pop music hit, reality show, or substance abuse problem that psychologically stems from being too hot.
2. Larry brings the crazy out of crazy celebrities
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Just about every famous person has an angry troll living somewhere inside of them who’s only goal is to make their presence known to the public. Larry doesn’t just know how to find that troll and bring it out of his guests. He latches on to it by reacting in a calm and even manner that someone might think Larry is suffering from a case of the crazies himself. He treats every guest with the same level of calm and reasoned discourse and that just makes the crazier guests like recent ousted Miss California Carrie Prejean or musical diva Liza Minnelli seem that much crazier by comparison.
1. He’s the last “news” person on cable news
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The entire spectrum of cable news has become an endless and empty airplane hanger filled with echoing screams and self-righteous crying that’s starting to run out of space. No one actually sits down and talks to the names in the news anymore. They hire all-knowing dunderheads to devour what’s left of the news and spit it back out at their audience in a giant wad of unsubstantiated rhetoric or mindless, misguided opinion. If your TV had arms and the right to carry weapons, it would kill itself.
Larry King really is the last of a dying breed in the cable news business. His show didn’t have segments dedicated to spouting opinions or spotlighting the weird and the stupid to drag people’s attention away from the harder and more serious stories of the day. All he did was bring people on his show from all realms of the news (political, world, sports, entertainment, and the stupid) to just sit and talk, the way most newsmen used to do before people demanded that their news shows have more sound effects and flashy graphics.
Now that Larry’s leaving, it’s time to hold a funeral for the old news cycle. (Pardon the metaphor.)