January 3, 2006, marks the anniversary of your first official night as the new host for The Late Late Show on CBS. What an extraordinary year you've had. It's time to take a bow, sir!
Over the last year you have lost your tie, found your voice, and charmed a nation of viewers. It should be noted that not all the viewers are female either.
Your wit has served you well. As you became more comfortable with the late night format, you've pushed the envelope with your wonderfully quirky humor. When chatting with your guests, you've been quick-witted and created a warm and receptive environment in which they've felt safe to open up and let it all hang out. In short, you've done what no other late night host has managed to accomplish since Johnny Carson: you've created a forum for major and minor celebrities to shine — as themselves.
Instead of relying on the current "I have something to promote" pool of talent, you've found genuinely interesting authors (Nuala O'Faolain) and producers (Jim Sheridan) to interview, showcased singers you've met in coffee shops, and brought viewers their favorite entertainers from the past (Betty White). All of these guests have left a big impression on your viewers. This is mostly due to your genuine interest in them and their work.
There were a couple of live broadcasts in December that were absolutely spectacular! The first, with Jon Cryer and Amy Yasbeck, kept me laughing. I lamented the fact that I couldn't be a part of the audience that night, but I was equally pleased to watch the show from home. Since you're fast on your feet, even your taped shows run smoothly. I wasn't a bit surprised that the live shows went off without a hitch.
You've stumbled and laughed at your mistakes along the way. You've shaped the show to fit your unique style. And, yes, one could say that you've also been shaped by the show. You've discovered what works best for you and you've run with it.
The eleven-minute monologue is delightful in all its free-form splendor. I've seen those cue cards of yours. The monologue isn't all pre-written as they are for other hosts. Your cue cards simply contain bullet points for reference should you wander off on some fascinating tangent. Oh, what marvelous tangents! Bosch, Freud, space exploration, giant squid!
That reminds me of something else. I can't honestly remember a time when I've heard anyone, let alone a talk show host, speak as intelligently as you do on history, art, philosophy, and the sciences. You have a brain and you use it! What an astonishing breakthrough for television!