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Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed…

Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets (edition 2010)

by Dick Cavett, Paul Golob (Editor), Meryl Sussman Levavi (Designer), David Shoemaker (Jacket designer)

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1366125,686 (3.69)3
Title:Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets
Authors:Dick Cavett
Other authors:Paul Golob (Editor), Meryl Sussman Levavi (Designer), David Shoemaker (Jacket designer)
Info:New York : Times Books/Henry Holt and Co., 2010.
Collections:Your library
Tags:memoir, biography, humor, entertainers, television

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Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets by Dick Cavett



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This is a fine collection of columns that Dick Cavett wrote for the New York Times from 2007 to 2010. As erudite, witty, and urbane as ever, his writing focuses largely on his nostalgic and humorous reminiscences of his Nebraska boyhood, college days at Yale, working as a copy boy at Time magazine, his early years in show business as a comedy writer for Johnny Carson, and, of course, his years as a talk show host. The classic stories of his talk show guests - Paul Newman, Groucho Marx, John Lennon, Richard Burton, Bette Davis, William F. Buckley, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Katharine Hepburn, and on and on - are particularly entertaining. Of decidedly less interest are the occasional columns on political events, mostly concerning the 2008 presidential campaign and the aftermath of the ill-fated Iraq War, stories whose time has now passed. But all the rest are indeed timeless stories - some of great good humor, and some of touching poignancy - that will never lose their appeal. ( )
1 vote ghr4 | Dec 28, 2016 |
Dick Cavett hosted some of the most intelligent talk shows ever aired on TV and from 2007 through 2013 he ruminated about his experiences in a weekly on-line column in the New York Times. Thia book is a collection of his columns that ran from February, 2007 to April, 2010.

The columns on show business are wonderful, especially his infamous show in 1971 that pitted Gore Vidal against Norman Mailer with poor erudite Janet Flanner trying to referee. I'm happy that I saw that show live & Cavett's writing brings it all back (with links to the video for those who missed it). Additionally there are wonderful stories about Paul Newman Groucho Marx, John Wayne and many, many more.

If this book had stuck to show business I would have given it five stars. Unfortunately, however, a large portion deals with politics and those essays are no fun at all (although his apocryphal quote from George W Bush that" the French have no word for entreptreneur" and his comparison of Rod Blagolevich to a bowling ball cozy made me laugh out loud). Perhaps it's because, even when you would have agreed with his views six years ago, today with the passage of time, his political essays come across mostly as angry screeds. I ended up quickly skimming these to get back to the good stuff. ( )
1 vote etxgardener | Mar 21, 2014 |
This book is a collection of articles that Cavett work for the NY Times. They are on various subjects – political (George W Bush, Sarah Palin, John McCain, film stars (John Wayne, Richard Burton, Groucho Marx), famous authors, as well as the demise of the English language. I found the political articles right on and especially enjoyed the ones on John Wayne and Richard Burton. However, at times Cavett uses words that are not part of an average person’s vocabulary and I hate to have a dictionary with me when I read a book. Is he just trying to show off? He makes a point of saying both of his parents were English teachers but some of the words are just not in daily vocabulary use. ( )
  knahs | Jan 19, 2014 |
Delightful!! ( )
  ownedbycats | Sep 1, 2013 |
This is a collection of all the articles Dick Cavett wrote for the New York Times during his short run at writing a bi-weekly column of his ruminations. In typical Cavett style the articles are irreverent, funny, and just a bit snarky (in a good way).

I bought this book having read a couple of his articles, in some reprinted fashion, some time ago. Of course the ones reprinted were the best of the best, so there are some articles in this book which weren't nearly as interesting.

My favorites were the ones about Richard Burton, The Art of the Insult, and the one that claimed Sarah Palin had no "first language." But there were definitely some which seemed more like personal ramblings in a diary.

It's a casual read and it was akin to popping open a can of Pringles. There's probably no more enjoyable way for people to improve their vocabulary than to read Cavett. ( )
  deadseasquirrels | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Brushing up against greatness (Norman Mailer, Bette Davis, the incomparable Groucho), he is like a fame-drunk autograph hound, though that eager-­peevish quality served him better on television: articulate obsequiousness balanced by a joke writer’s instinct for the snappy rejoinder or defensive put-down. Cavett is a veteran of earlier talk show wars, yet he doesn’t have much to say about the latest round. “Talk Show” is largely an exercise in bright-eyed nostalgia, like an upscale version of the old “Joe Franklin Show.” It’s interesting, though, that Cavett, outwardly so much more refined than a go-for-the-gut puncher like Leno, indulges in the same kind of easy, pat indignation.
Alas, we should end up back on the “angelic” side, n’est-ce pas? Luther Heggs, the ace reporter played by the inimitable Don Knotts in the 1966 film “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,” once opined: “When you work with words, words are your work.” Mr. Cavett is still working with words on and off the page in his singularly exquisite and charming style. And what Mr. Cavett said of Groucho Marx applies also to him: “He didn’t think of funny things first and then say them. They were reflexive, almost unconscious responses, and it was fun to see his surprised enjoyment of them at the same moment as ours.”

Could that be yet another explanation of that delightful, yin-yang Cavett smile?
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Book description
Taken from essays posted for the author on The New York Times' website, February 4, 2007 to April 9, 2010.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805091955, Hardcover)

The legendary talk show host's humorous reminiscences and pointed commentary on the great figures he has known, and culture and politics today

For years, Dick Cavett played host to the nation's most famous personalities on his late-night talk show. In this humorous and evocative book, we get to hear Cavett's best tales, as he recounts great moments with the legendary entertainers who crossed his path and offers his own trenchant commentary on contemporary American culture and politics.

Pull up a chair and listen to Cavett's stories about one-upping Bette Davis, testifying on behalf of John Lennon, confronting Richard Nixon, scheming with John Updike, befriending William F. Buckley, and palling around with Groucho Marx. Sprinkled in are tales of his childhood in Nebraska in the 1940s and 1950s, where he honed his sense of comic timing and his love of magic.

Cavett is also a wry cultural observer, looking at America today and pointing out the foibles that we so often fail to notice about ourselves. And don't even get him started on politicians. A generation of Americans ended their evenings in Dick Cavett's company; Talk Show is a way to welcome him back.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:31 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A pioneering talk-show host shares memories of his experiences with famous guests from John Lennon and Richard Nixon to William F. Buckley and Groucho Marx, and offers his insights into what his career taught him about American culture.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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