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Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  645 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
"There's never been a talk show to equal Dick Cavett's... It's a pleasure to relive much of it in this wonderful book."—Woody Allen

For years, Dick Cavett played host to the nation's most famous personalities on his late-night talk show. In this humorous and evocative book, we get to hear Cavett's best tales, as he recounts great moments with the legendary entertainers who
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 22nd 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published November 1st 2010)
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Lee Anne
Nov 29, 2010 Lee Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've loved Dick Cavett since I was in, what, sixth grade? junior high? I watched the PBS version of his talk show, which ended in 1982, so around then. (I was a weird kid.) Then, his (now deceased) wife, the whiskey-voiced Carrie Nye, played kooky Susan Piper on "The Guiding Light," my then-favorite soap opera, and I fell in love with her, too.

For those of you too young to know, Dick Cavett was a talk show host who rose to popularity in the sixties. You can watch DVDs of his show and see such l
Mar 21, 2014 Andie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dick Cavett hosted some of the most intelligent talk shows ever aired on TV and from 2007 through 2013 he ruminated about his experiences in a weekly on-line column in the New York Times. Thia book is a collection of his columns that ran from February, 2007 to April, 2010.

The columns on show business are wonderful, especially his infamous show in 1971 that pitted Gore Vidal against Norman Mailer with poor erudite Janet Flanner trying to referee. I'm happy that I saw tht show live & Cavett's
Troy Blackford
Feb 20, 2016 Troy Blackford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't had a huge amount of experience with Dick Cavett, but I knew from his John and Yoko interviews that he was a worthy human being. I figured this had to be worth the time. It definitely was, but it was also not what I expected--this time, in a very good way. I had no idea of his long comedy writing past, or of his absorption in issues of grammar (okay, more like 'pleasantly-curmudgeonly pedantry,' but that's seriously something I can enjoy reading) and the like. These are essays culled f ...more
May 07, 2011 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, audiobooks
This audiobook is Cavett reading his blog/column that he does a few times a month for the New York Times. He made me feel alternately smart, and not smart enough; old and not old enough. He has a great sense of humor and is often self-deprecating, even when he KNOWS he's the smartest guy in the room. Because these pieces were originally published from 2008 on, some of them feel very dated (Sarah Palin ad nauseum, for example.) But it's still as enjoyable as reading an old magazine, something tha ...more
Bob Ryan
I was a fan of the Cavett show when it aired on PBS. Simply two talking heads, much different than the "talk shows" we have today which are more unashamed promotional vehicles for the guests and the hosts than talk. When Cavett was good, it was the best thing on TV in its time. Cavett wasn't afraid to ask a prodding question or make slight fun of a guest that put them at ease in front of a live audience.

This CD brings back memories of some of those shows, with lots of stories about the guests. C
Years ago while in high school I had a schoolgirl crush on Dick Cavett and loved his autobiography, Cavett. Now years later, listening to this book based on his columns from the NY Times from 2006-9 (which I had missed) with that old familiar voice, I realized I don't really "like" old Dick anymore. Yes, I enjoyed his stories of what it was like meeting this person or that person (quite the name dropper, Brando, W.F. Buckley, Groucho ad nauseum, Woody Allen, among others), but so much of this bo ...more
Sep 03, 2011 Libby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a real treat. In this collection of columns that were published in the New York Times Dick Cavett's voice and wry humor come through loud and clear. His trenchant and lucid comments about nearly everything show a curious and probing mind, and a wicked wit. I laughed out loud frequently. Here's a sample: "Do freshman philosophy classes nowadays debate updated versions of the age-old questions? Like, how could a merciful God allow AIDS, childhood cancers, tsunamis, and Dick Cheney?"
I learned a lot from this collection of columns by Cavett, mostly anecdotal, and for the most part I enjoyed them. I was turned off by the repeated references and catch phrases (Strasbourg goose, for instance), but I guess that is not unexpected. A few columns were heartfelt. At times I felt his true views of women and society seemed negative and unacceptable, and he patted himself on the back a little too much. Still, I am interested in getting his earlier collection.
Jan 07, 2017 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dick Cavett was before my time but I've enjoyed watching old interviews so when I saw this book I thought it would provide interesting and behind-the-scenes stories of those interviews. How wrong I was. Not only does he go on and on about Bush and his cohorts, his ego about himself is too much to take along with how he despises people with poor grammer and anyone else below his intellect. I had to stop reading, just began to really dislike this man and his few stories between all that was not wo ...more
Greg Jones
Nov 06, 2016 Greg Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Far be it for me to rate a book by a writer such as Dick Cavett, but I would be able to rate a fine meal even if I wasn't a good chef, no?

This collection of columns for the NY Times that Mr. Cavett wrote are a mixed bag, but they are all brilliant. It is also a great time capsule of what was going on in the world (and Mr. Cavett's head) in 2007-2009.
Cj Rey
May 10, 2017 Cj Rey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on Some of the stories are getting a bit dated now but for the most part it holds up. Through these essays, it's clear that Dick Cavett is smart, funny, and kind. Those happen to be my three favorite traits in a human being--although not necessarily in that order.
Oct 08, 2012 Glenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dick Cavett was my favourite talk show host when I was young. Hands down. I read his first book, Cavett, years ago. He slipped out of my sight when I moved into rural mid-western Ontario without the benefit of cable and, therefore, PBS. Then I heard an interview on CBC radio with Mr. Cavett a couple of years ago. The same voice that had amused and charmed me in my youth worked its magic again. It took a while, but I eventually obtained this book, which is a compilation of his New York Times blog ...more
Blog on Books
Dec 07, 2010 Blog on Books rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When we first heard that Dick Cavett was coming out with another book, our first reaction was “Oh, no. Not again.” Between his first book, the DVDs, You Tube and all the archival footage used in every John Lennon special, hasn’t the world heard all the stories about his fabulous guests, (like Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, Jimi Hendrix, William F. Buckley and John & Yoko – as though Mike Douglas never existed; it sucks to live in Philly) enough already? Well, kind of, yes.

But leave it to the worl
Kate Woods Walker
Readers of a certain age have a certain fondness for Dick Cavett's often-meandering but never disappointing tales of the famous, his biting wit, and his unashamedly sentimental evocations of a time gone by, when television had not yet devolved into Sheen-a-thons and Jersey Shore tirades. And I'm no exception--I have loved his work since I first watched his late lamented ABC-TV talk show, and I've been a fan of his writing style since his original memoir, Cavett.

It was with both embarrassment and
This collection of New York Times columns, ca. 2007-08, is a gift from heaven (especially as an online library e-book) for someone who wants a congenial but somewhat unpredictable bite of prose for a coffee-break or lunchtime at work. Cavett divided his time between reminiscences of the many notables he met in the course of his career (names that jump to mind, more or less at random, are William F. Buckley and Richard Burton, each of whom has more than one column) and clever rants on subjects li ...more
Dec 16, 2010 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dick Cavett's Talk Show is a treasure for a boomer, anyone interested in American cultural history from Cavett's childhood years to the present, and students of personality, this latter due to the fact that Cavett's psyche is on full display here. The final two pieces on John Wayne, whom I have despised since the Vietnam years and probably before, stunned me.
Cavett's erudition is evident, as are his flaws and ideosyncracies. I did not watch Cavett's show during the '60's and early '70's (I did w
William Hamman
I'm not sure what I expected from this book, but whatever it was, this wasn't it. It really is a compilation of Cavett's newspaper columns. Some are good, like the recollections of John Wayne and Richard Burton, or the whole Norman Mailer flap. Others are quite bad, such as the ones where he admits that he's backed himself up to the deadline and is writing crap out of contractual obligation, with a kind of "Gosh, isn't it swell to be Dick Cavett" conceit. I'm sure it is - but a little of that so ...more
Jul 24, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea Dick Cavett wrote a column for the NY Times - but I guess he did. This is a collection of those columns. Mostly enjoyable, if a bit date, a lot of stuff about old Hollywood (Groucho, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson) that was of little interest to me - I have only the barest acquaintance with those folks. But he also was writing during the run up to the 2008 election. Lots of columns about John McCain, Hillary, Obama, etc. I found that stuff very interesting, since we are in the middle of ...more
This book is 78 columns Dick Cavett wrote for The New York Times 2007-2010. He includes one-liners, tales from his 1970s shows, and comments on the current political situation (Bush, Iraq, and 2008 presidential campaign). Overall, entertaining in short spurts, a bit repetitive if you read 60 pages all in one sitting.

Cavett was the predecessor of John Stewart and The Daily Show. Both had actors and actresses on their show (Richard Burton -- Sandra Bullock); musicians on their show, complete with
Nov 16, 2012 Brett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've enjoyed watching reruns of Dick Cavett's talk shows over the years, and I've always been impressed with their quality. They're more than just promotional vehicles for whatever actor or musician is appearing. He had conversations with people, devoted an entire 30 or 60 minutes to them, and talked about more than just their latest project. And his show spent some time in primetime! It probably wouldn't work today, what with shortened attention spans and the ever-widening definition of celebri ...more
Jan 09, 2014 Kevin rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I like Dick. (There, I said it).

Reading this collection of blogs by Mr. Cavett, written over the course of the late aughts, immerses you in a world gone by in which smart people regularly conversed on TV and elsewhere. Noel Coward, Norman Mailer, Richard Burton, Katharine Hepburn, John Cheever, John Wayne... these are the people you get to "hang out" with in Cavett's book. I couldn't put it down, always eager to read "just one more" chapter.

The night I finished reading the book, Cavett was a gue
John Teehan
Jul 17, 2012 John Teehan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There should be more talk show hosts like Dick Cavett. Alas, he's of a passing breed of educated and erudite conversationalists and public intellectuals. Second only, in my opinion, to Steve Allen, Dick Cavett brought out the best in his guests in engaging them in thoughtful dialogue presented to an appreciative audience. This book contains many memories of his experiences on his various talk shows and with various guests. It also shares many thoughts and memories on life, contemporary and other ...more
Laurie Hoppe
Sep 05, 2016 Laurie Hoppe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir
This collection of essays covers the waterfront -- politics, show business, pop culture and grammar. I watched Dick Cavett's shows when I was a kid and have seen certain special episodes more recently (Hepburn and Groucho on TCM, John & Yoko on, I believe, VH1, so I'm familiar with his voice, and reading this book was like having his voice in my head. Since he's so bright and so funny, that's a good thing. There are times when he's a bit too smug, a little too in love with himself, but I for ...more
Mar 24, 2011 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a group of columns, so light reading. I skimmed, or skipped, the political stuff (amazing how quickly I forgot Alberto Gonzales, Joe the Plumber, and other cartoon characters) but the memories about his show (Groucho! Woody!) is worth the read. Very conversational, as you would expect. Only problem: now I don't feel like should invest time in "Cavett" which I hear is much better. Dick Cavett interviews himself:

Or Bobby Bittman
Wilson Mui
This is a collection of all the articles Dick Cavett wrote for the New York Times during his short run at writing a bi-weekly column of his ruminations. In typical Cavett style the articles are irreverent, funny, and just a bit snarky (in a good way).

I bought this book having read a couple of his articles, in some reprinted fashion, some time ago. Of course the ones reprinted were the best of the best, so there are some articles in this book which weren't nearly as interesting.

My favorites were

Cavett is at his best when he is talking about his talk shows, adventures with various guests, and the interactions he has had with fans and celebrities alike. This collection of his New York Times blog essays goes seriously off the rails when he writes about contemporary events. His recollections of his talk show adventures were witty and captivating, but his comments on things that were in the news when he was writing the blog (in the late 2000s) fall back on a string of uninteresting and pred
Jaime Fowler
I'll be brief. I bailed out on this book. It wasn't because of the interesting stories of Cavett and his guests on the TV show. But that's already well-documented. You can see the shows on YouTube or buy the series on DVD. I guess the problem for reading it was Cavett himself. He is so good at putting his guests in the limelight and bringing out interesting things about them. Who else would allow an awful film by John Lennon and Yoko to air on their show? Most people wouldn't allow it. But Cavet ...more
T Fool
Jul 28, 2011 T Fool rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-books
It's not possible for me to remember the person whom I forgot right away and refused to allow to my birthday celebrations once he called Dick Cavett a 'twit'. That may have confirmed my belief, just then beginning, that a whole generation of 'hip' young people -- to which I vaguely thought I belonged -- was as far off the mark as was the 'greatest generation' (later so named) who fathered us and whom we disparaged.

Dick Cavett may, at one point, have been the only evidence of intelligence we had
Jan 09, 2015 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is based on the audio version

I rarely watched Cavett's show (he always seemed TOO full of himself), and yet I've seen brief clips of many of the shows I missed and have thoroughly enjoyed them.

Maybe that's the answer...Cavett in small doses is manageable. At least I found MOST of these columns to be either interesting, humorous (the ones about Richard Nixon, George Bush) or downright poignant (the one about Paul Newman brought tears). I DID NOT enjoy learning he was not only friends
Victoria Pynchon
I bought this book last night at a Los Angeles Writers Bloc event ( Cavett appeared with Mel Brooks and the conversation range from Fred Astaire to Katherine Hepburn to Groucho Marx on Cavett's side and much about the 2,000 year old man on Brooks side (with Brooks calling out to Carl Reiner sitting in the audience to tell the story of the origins of that schtick). I've only so far skimmed the Cavett book, but it reads as silkily as he speaks ~ smart and wise and s ...more
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Richard Alva "Dick" Cavett is a former American television talk show host known for his conversational style and in-depth discussion of issues. Cavett appeared on a regular basis on nationally-broadcast television in the United States in five consecutive decades, the 1960s through the 2000s, a feat matched only by Johnny Carson. (Larry King's television talk programs in the 1960s and 1970s were li ...more
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