Our resident hound asked us to imagine that our notoriety has soared to the point where we not only give television interviews, but that we can choose our interviewer. Oh my. I don’t watch a lot of television shows. Hubby controls the remote during the day (by default – I’m not around all the time) and he doesn’t enjoy the morning talk shows, so I don’t have any idea how well those interviews go. I’ll have to comment on those I’ve actually seen.
I have vague memories of the Merv Griffin Show back when I was growing up. My mom used to watch him in the afternoons before she started dinner. I honestly don’t remember any of his interviews, but I thought he was quite handsome. As I recall, he was quite witty, too. Ellen DeGeneres seems to have a similar style – understated humor, and impeccable timing. But I’m not sure I’d want to subject myself to some of the shock pranks she pulls on her celebrity guests.
Since The Tonight Show airs at 11:30 pm in the Eastern time zone I used to watch the Tonight Show only during the summer, when I didn’t have to get up early the next morning. I thought of Johnny Carson as a debonair host, and envied the people who sat next to the desk on his show. Later on the baton was passed to Jay Leno. During his reign I retired from full-time teaching and and am now able to stay up as late as I wish. I enjoyed Jay’s monologue and several of his segments (Headlines was my favorite) but I became annoyed with the way he kept interrupting his guests. He’d ask a question and before they could complete their answers he’d insert a joke or funny comment. I wanted to yell at him to shut his mouth and let the person complete a full sentence for once! Jimmy Fallon isn’t quite as annoying at interviews, and he’s an awesome musician and so creative with the games he asks his guests to play, so I wouldn’t mind an interview with him.
Of course, there’s the fabulous Barbara Walters. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable sitting in a chair across from her. She’s a good interviewer, but since she’s spoken to heads of state and all sorts of celebrities I might feel intimidated sitting across from her, so I’ll leave her to the hard-hitters. Phil Donahue and Anderson Cooper would also intimidate me. The same would apply for several of the political pundits I see on the early morning shows. Many of them also have the annoying habit of interrupting their guests to insert their own opinions before the person has had the opportunity to answer the question they’ve been asked. I find that extremely rude. Why ask a question if you don’t want to hear the answer?
So who would be my choice? Hugh Downs. I watched 20/20 every Friday night when he hosted, and sometimes he would interview the guests. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I imagine his intelligent and thoughtful questioning, and the way he listened to the answers set the bar in my mind for the way an interview should be conducted. He reminds me a lot of my dad – calm, reassuring, and fatherly. He seemed like someone I could trust, and who was actually interested in my answers.
Do you have a favorite interviewer?
(Source: All images were downloaded from the Wikipedia pages of the celebrities mentioned above.)