Friday, January 16, 2015
BRIEF ENCOUNTERS by DICK CAVETT
For those of us who grew up (not literally) watching Dick Cavett’s show on TV nothing more needs to be said other than “Hey, he has a new book out.) Most of you have already bought it, read it, and shared it with friends. Now, for those of you who weren’t so blessed - you’re in for a treat. There’s not been a like talk show host before or after DC, and I don’t see one in the future. He’s erudite, witty and kind (most of the time). He was the kind of host who actually listened to his guests rather than trying to top them, and if it looked like they were faltering he’s lend a helping phrase.
Brief Encounters holds a treasure of laugh-provoking stories and essays from all over - his early life in Lincoln, Nebraska (yes, believe it or not he was at times a bit of a rowdy), his years at Yale (a bit too much of that for this gal whose fondest memory of college is the Dartmouth Winter Carnival), his career, and his opinions on everyone from Dick Cheney to Eddie Fisher to a fond remembrance of Stan Laurel (which left this reader misty eyed).
His stories of being a gag writer for the top talk show hosts of a certain day (Yes, there are oldies in Brief Encounters -but kids if you don’t know who they are (or were) you should.) The only thing missing in this book is the sound of that voice and his laugh. (Yes, there is an audio edition.) But the pleasure I found in the hardcover was being able to go back to a favorite vignette and read it to captive friends and spouse).
As Cavett wrote re the uniqueness of comedian Jonathan Winters, “There was Jonathan, and then there was everybody else.” I’ll say of him, “There is Dick Cavett, and then there is everybody else.” Enjoy!
- Gail Cooke