Today is the birthday (in 1925) of Johnny Carson, the undisputed king of American talk show hosts.
Carson is famous for being a very private man who succeeded beyond all expectations in a very public job.
The talk show is a curious institution. No one could have imagined a need for it in the years leading up to its invention.
Before radio and TV came along people had to provide entertaining late-night talk for themselves. All that was needed was a bonfire and at least one person with enough self-regard that they couldn’t stay quiet.
Now the many available cable channels and every aspect of the internet work furiously to maintain a steady stream of chatter for everyone (or no one) to see, hear and read.
What no one produces is a little bit of relief.
I wonder how long it will be before some beleaguered content producer, charged with the monumental task of developing a multi-platform presentation with the capacity to surprise an exhausted audience, will at long last hire a cast of bright, attractive people to sit quietly in each other’s company, saying nothing?