In recent years, Andy Rooney has become an easy target. He didn’t know who Lady Gaga was. Heck, he didn’t even know who Kurt Cobain was. Pop culture has spent the better part of the last two decades lampooning the personality’s “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” 60 Minutes segment, transforming its star into a famous version of your out-of-touch grandpa. All the while, though, it was tough not to throw accolades at Rooney as often as you threw jokes at him. We are, after all, talking about a 92-year-old man who still brings his best to every Sunday’s 60 Minutes.
So it’s a shame — to 60 Minutes fans and, yes, comedians alike — to hear that Rooney will be retiring his “Few Minutes” segment. CBS News announced that the newsman will air his final “Few Minutes” — his 1,097th essay, to be exact — this Sunday, after a whopping 62 years with CBS. That’s not to say he’ll never be back, though. Said CBS News chairman Jeff Fager in a statement, “There’s nobody like Andy and there never will be. He’ll hate hearing this, but he’s an American original. … His contributions to 60 Minutes are immeasurable; he’s also a great friend. It’s harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind on 60 Minutes when the urge hits him.”
Here’s hoping he takes up Fager on his offer. Yes, it’s easy to mock Rooney, to wonder how he stepped out of a Scooby-Doo cartoon. But there was something undeniably appealing about his work. He represented the inner curmudgeon in all of us, bringing our petty grievances to a national platform. Why doesn’t cereal cost $0.15 anymore? What’s the deal with fruit? Why must computers demand a password when typewriters never did? Okay, so most of us likely didn’t complain about that last bit, but Rooney did often vocalize our deepest annoyances the way no other newsman did.
And that’s exactly how he kept the 60 Minutes‘ segment segment popular for over 30 years. (He aired his first essay in 1978.) People wanted to see what Rooney had to say each week. And when he wasn’t relatable, he was hilarious. I remember tuning into his segment one night during the 2010 Winter Olympics and listening him describe a new marvel called ice skating: “It’s like ballet, but on ice.” Even the most basic and obvious information sounded sincere and adorable coming from him. In a news culture more and more obsessed with youth, it was refreshing to watch a 92-year-old man speak his piece. Where else could you find someone with authority to commiserate about cashiers who hand you your change with the coins on top of the bills?*
PopWatchers, are you sad to see Rooney retire? Could anyone take his place? Should anyone take his place? (I vote no.) And what’s your favorite “Few Minutes” segment?
*Admittedly, I’m not sure if Rooney ever addressed this. But if he hasn’t, he should this Sunday. So. Annoying.
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