"Last Call with Carson Daly"
is one of the most amazing shows currently on television!
I know what you're thinking - that I am either an idiot or a 14 year old girl. But bear with me a moment and just allow me to argue my point.
Last Call is a late night television show that airs weeknights on NBC after "Late Night with Conan O'Brien". It's host, Carson Daly, made a name for himself as the Poster Boy epitome of VJs on the cable network MTV. His MTV show, "Total Request Live" (dubbed TRL for short) was the landmark program for the network in the latter half of the 90's. The show featured celebrities stopping by it's Times Square hub to chat with fans and talk about projects while Carson counted down the day's top ten most requested music videos on live television. Though young girls particularly took a fancy to dreamy Carson, the rest of us basically had the consensus that a monkey could do this job. Carson's and the show's popularity grew, and soon Daly was expanding to bigger and brighter things. One of these things was "Last Call with Carson Daly".
You have to give the people at NBC credit. They had been bumbling around the 1:35 AM time slot for years, throwing on anything from infomercials to reruns of the 80's Canadian comedy program "SCTV". They cut off a section of the "Saturday Night Live" set and gave it to Daly to call his own, probably hoping they could reel in some of the teenagers and young adults who are demographically proven to be watching it's predecessor, "Late Night with Conan O'Brien". Their wits seem to have paid off, for in "Last Call" they have found possibly the most successful and entertaining 1:35 AM basic cable broadcast anywhere on earth.
Now, of course, none of this has anything to do with it being an amazing show. I don't see any indication above that I have proven my point. Here's what I'm getting at. Carson seems to take his show very seriously. And that's not to say that he isn't laidback, that he's fearful or worried while interviewing his guests - it's to say that he seems to feel very responsible for his audience. Perhaps it's because his day job lacks resonance, it simply parades the same few celebrities that he does not neccessarily enjoy day in and day out before uninvolved fans, but I think Carson has a purpose with this show. I believe Carson Daly wants to make the world a better place.
No matter who the guest is, Carson seems to have questions he desperately wants to ask. It's not the ritualistic rotation of "I'm here to plug my new movie out this friday with funny anecdotes to pass the time" you get on any other late night show. It's this laidback approach of just conversing with his guest that allows his viewers a little more insight in to them. And his guests are as diverse as anybody's, ranging from pop music magnates to cult idols to people outside the entertainment industry altogether. Sometimes, Carson may only have one a night. He talks to Harvey Keitel about his life and debates with Bill O'Reilly about the pertenent issues of our time. Musical Guests? Anywhere from 50 Cent to Sigur Ros. It's almost as if Carson is saying there's more to him, more to youth, and more to life than the "Dirrty" video. And the most fascinating part is, his audience is usually made up of three parts: Those who just want to see Carson Daly in the flesh and gush over him like little girls, those who are the aforementioned people's boyfriends, and those who were offered free tickets to see it while on there way in to Conan. None of these people are looking to have their horizons broadened at all. But can you imagine a gaggle of teeny-boppers walking away from this program and saying, "Harvey Keitel seems like such a cool guy, let's rent BAD LIEUTENANT!" Or some College Football Player getting teary-eyed at the moving melodies of Sigur Ros? These are the things I believe Carson Daly has on his mind. Maybe not specifically, but I think he knows the audience he appeals to, and I think he's trying to put on a show that gives them something slightly broader than just entertainment. I'm all for the enlightenment of America's youth, and Carson Daly knows that they trust him enough to deliver it.
It is for these reasons that I enjoy watching "Last Call with Carson Daly". He's not a comedian, he's just a likeable guy sitting down with interesting people, and teaching his fans things they couldn't learn from a TV Nation's top ten.