Larry King is dead serious about his comedy. First, the former CNN anchor debuted some grampa stand-up on The Tonight Show. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, he’s in talks to potentially join The Daily Show. (King would be an occasional contributor, like Lewis Black or Larry Wilmore.) Comedy Central wouldn’t confirm the talks, but it doesn’t seem that far outside the realm of possibility. For one thing, Stewart has always seemed pretty fond of King. For another thing, King wouldn’t be the first newscasting personality to make the jump into sly self-parody — former Fox newsbot Suzanne Sena has reinvented herself as a self-aware newsbot on Onion News Network, and former MSNBC rage-machine Keith Olbermann has been rumored as a “rant contributor” for Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming cable-news drama. NBC’s Brian Williams, meanwhile, has a nice sub-career going as a hilarious cameo superstar on 30 Rock. Throw in Anderson Cooper’s willingness to parody himself on SNL — to say nothing of his role as the narrator in Broadway’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying — and you have to wonder: Does every newscaster secretly yearn for a career in comedy?
On one hand, you could argue that even real tele-journalism has descended into self-parody. Certainly, the notion of Larry King contributing to The Daily Show isn’t really that much crazier than the notion of a nightly CNN broadcast hosted by a reality show judge. (Okay, Piers Morgan was also an accomplished tabloid journalist, but Edward R. Murrow he ain’t.*) Certainly, modern newscasters seems more willing to admit to the “performance” element of their work. In a sense, King might just be coming late to the party. Considering that The Daily Show has won two Peabody awards and is the number one news source for a significant slice of the (young) population, he might even be trading up from his last job, when he worked for the same network that greenlit Parker Spitzer.
PopWatchers, are you confused/frustrated/exhilarated by the breakdown of the boundary between fake news and real news? Any other newscasters you think should consider pursuing a career in stand-up?
*In fairness, Edward R. Murrow was a celebrity-journalism pioneer as the host of Person to Person. But he wasn’t such a jerk about it.