It's Veterans Day. I have a tremendous amount of respect for our military, and the men and women who wear our nation's uniform. Let's face it, though. They're being honored EVERYWHERE today (as well they should), and no one's going to notice one more blog honoring vets. So instead of writing a sappy tribute to those who defend our nation, I thought I'd focus on the forgotten veterans this Veterans day: The veterans of the Late Night Wars.
First up is the cringe worthy Chevy Chase Show! Remember when Chevy Chase was going to turn FOX into a latenight powerhose that could compete with The Tonight Show, and The Late Show? Remember how it was cancelled about 6 weeks later? To be exact, the show lasted from September 7-October 1, 1993. It was the magical autumn where America finally, and collectively came to the realization that Chevy Chase really just isn't funny. Your late night suckfest may have been universally panned, Chevy, but today we honor you: A late night wars veteran. For those of you who missed Chevy's show 16 years ago, here's a clip I found on Youtube.
One commenter of the above clip said "I'll never be clean again." Amen, brother!
Speaking of people who used to be funny: Whoopi Goldberg had her own syndicated talk show (The Whoopi Goldberg Show) from 1992-1993. I actually remember watching this one a couple of times as a kid. I thought Whoopi was funny, so naturally the show would be too, right? Oh how wrong I was. Check out this promo for her talk show. When just the commercial is capable of giving you a headache, you know the show had to be bad!
While the bullet-riddled corpse of your show may have been left to die in no-man's land nearly two decades ago, we haven't forgotten. Today we salute you, Whoopi: Another Late Night veteran.
Now, it's hard to make fun of Magic Johnson. Not only has he bravely battled HIV since the early 1990's, but he's also done so much great charity work over the years. You can't help but love and respect the guy...Until you watch a clip from The Magic Hour which ran for three glorious months in the summer of 1998. Unfortunately, the only clips of The Magic Hour I could find also feature the hideously annoying Howard Stern (who's starting to sound more and more like Alan Alda with each passing year). Sorry.
The only thing magical about The Magic Hour was how quickly his audience disappeared. However, who can resist that charming Magic Johnson laugh? Magic, today the flag flies for you, oh battle-hardened veteran of the Late Night Wars!
At one time, loud mouth radio personality Rush Limbaugh was so popular, that someone thought he should have his own tv show. Thus, in the fall of 1992, The Rush Limbaugh Show was born. It was a syndicated show that aired after the late local news in most markets. So, technically, it counts as a late night program. Here's a clip from the very first episode:
In the clip, Rush claims that his tv show will stay on the air until everyone agrees with him. The show went off the air in 1996. No doubt, you all remember that day well. It was the day that the last liberal on earth finally realized the error of his ways. Shortly after, Bill and Hillary Clinton were jailed in a newly reopened Alcatraz. Newt Gingrich became our king, then graciously abdicated the throne several months later when doctors successfully cloned Ronald Reagan. Now, peace, liberty, and Lee Greenwood songs flourish throughout our land! God Bless America! Thank you, Rush. You're a Late Night Wars veteran truly worthy of honor.
Remember a time back before people who pumped their fists in the air while yelling "WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!" were considered jackasses? If you do, then you probably watched The Arsenio Hall Show (1989-1994). He was the guy who was going to knock Johnny Carson out of the top spot and become the new King of Late Night. Yet the show was off the year only two years after Carson retired. After watching this clip of him eating cereal with PeeWee Herman, I can't help but wonder what went wrong.
Arsenio is just one more man who stormed the beaches of Late Nightdom in the 80's-90's. If you see him today (working the register at Home Depot, or whatever it is he does now to make a living), thank him on behalf of all Americans.
Finally, who could forget The Pat Sajack Show (1989-1990)? Yep, ole' Pat was so popular that CBS gave him a late night show. In the following clip, he interviews Colonel Klink from Hogan's Heroes. Amazingly, it doesn't look like Klink has aged since the 1960's. Also, if you watch Wheel of Fortune today, it doesn't look like Pat has aged since this was filmed.
The Freedom to watch tv isn't free, Pat. It takes the sacrifices of folks like you. That's why I'm proud to honor you today as a veteran of the Late Night Wars.
Join me next November when I salute the veterans of the Cola Wars.
Seriously, I appreciate everything our men and women in uniform, past and present, have done for us. Happy Veteran's Day.