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

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  371 ratings  ·  81 reviews
The legendary talk show host's humorous reminiscences and pointed commentary on the great figures he has known, and culture and politics today

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 entert...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Times Books (first published November 1st 2010)
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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...more
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
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 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...more
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...more
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
Lee Anne
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 to 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 lu...more
Blog on Books
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...more
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...more
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
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
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...more
John Teehan
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
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
I wanted to like this book.......but a good chunk of his columns during 2008 were so anti-conservative, I'm wondering if he just didn't have that much to write about, and so, decided to titillate his NY Times audience with a libs version of red meat. All to bad - I found him an engaging interviewer back in the day.
David Macpherson
I didn't realize that this was a collection of new york times articles until I started. As they are they are fine. Some of his opinions, about his distaste of seeing obese people in commercials say, are dumb ass. On the other hand, his hollywood anecdotes are good, so the balance was alright
T Fool
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...more
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
Joan Graham
I listened to Cavett read this while on a long distance car trip. If you're a show biz or pop culture junkie, there are lots of historic goodies from a guy who got in on television's ground floor, first as a writer for Paar, Carson etc, and then as an interviewer of pop icons like John Lennon, Ayn Rand, and Alfred Hitchcock. This book is actually a collection of his NY Times columns, and hearing Cavett read them is probably a good way to go. He has a unique, upper crust Yalie voice, which some r...more
Having grown up on Carson, Paar, Cavett, Griffin, and Douglas I enjoyed this book very much. Folks talk about the golden age of television, well this was the golden age of talk shows . . . when they really were talk shows. You would see the most amazing people from every genre of entertainment and they would just talk. It was like listening in on an great cocktail party. People weren't there for their 7.5 minutes to pitch their latest project. They were there because they wanted to be and wanted...more
I've had a major crush on Dick Cavett for years and so I was predisposed to like this book. And it didn't disappoint. A selection of essays from Cavett's New York Times online opinion column that range from commentary on the use/misuse of language, the American political and culture culture, stories from his youth in Nebraska and career, and famous people he has met, befriended, or endured. Since the essays are short, this is a perfect book to pick up at odd moments. That was always my motivatio...more
Interesting insights on Johnny Carson, Jack Parr and Groucho Marx.
Selections from Cavett's NYT online column. Mixed topics between Cavett's past and then-current (2008) political topics. Honestly vastly prefer the non-political, if only because I haven't had time to forget 2008. There's nothing I hate more than going 'I KNOW I KNOW, COME ON' at a book. The audiobook is read by Cavett, who is not only fabulous to listen to, but also is one of the only readers to get even close to the correct speed. (It is rare for me to have an audiobook at 1x speed, unless it...more
These collected columns or blog posts were pleasant reading for those seeking nostalgia-like reminiscences. Some were highly entertaining, but some seemed repetitive and dated. Cavett's memories of his guests on his talk show were often good reads but seemed too short. Apparently their are tapes of the actual shows available as he reminds the reader throughout. Of course, he quotes Groucho Marks many times--he is Cavett's hero as is Woody Allen and surprisingly John Wayne. Pleasant enough stuff,...more
I expected more of Cavett than this collection of NYT articles provided. Too often pedantic, priggish, and self-congratulatory, it also was too focused on the political events of 2007-2008. Cavett had no distance in his writing, only spleen for Bush and for Palin. And spleen gets old fairly quickly. His memories of figures like Groucho Marx, William F. Buckley, and John Wayne, among others, were quite funny and touching, but unfortunately occupied too little of the book.
I'm a little disappointed that this is a compilation of Cavett's newspaper essays & not a memoir of his tv show, but boy! is he ever snarky and funny and smart.

I enjoyed it, but nothing about it felt pressing. This is the kind of book you'd be happy to find in your room when you are someone's house guest; you can dip in, read an anecdote or two to help you fall asleep in unfamiliar surroundings, and it won't haunt you if you don't finish before your stay is over.
Ali Tehrani
The book consists of 2 years worth of articles Dick Cavett wrote for the New York times.

It's okay. Not particularly brilliant. It was often humorous, but never uproariously hilarious.

Cavett made clear that his readers often asked him to write more about Grouch Marx. But Cavett largely ignored their request.

Not something I would really recommend to anyone, unless they're specifcally interested in what Cavett has to say about things.
I picked up this book hoping to enjoy Cavett's take on his late night show and guests. Unfortunately I couldn't get past Cavett's many pats on his own back about his intelligence and wit. I'm a wordsmith but his constant suffering over people's misuse of language got old and only served to add to his air of arrogance.I'm sure he would point out the many incorrect phrasings in what I just wrote but I simply don't care.
Some books (in this case a collection of Cavett's blogs for the NYT), are meant to be read aloud. I recommend the audio version of this book, to hear the charming Cavett recall favorite episodes and stories, and even give familiar voice to guests from his programs. Facinating for fans not just of Cavett but of old Hollywood. Warning.... George W and Sarah Palin supporters might want to give this one a pass :)
Susan Culpepper
If you liked Dick Cavett, you'll love the book. It's classic Cavett, and I can hear his distinctive voice in each piece. The book is a collection of columns written about his various guests, unusual happenings (ex: the health guru who died during the interview), and opinions of celebrities he encountered during his career. Of course, you have to be fairly old to remember the Dick Cavett Show.
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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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