Last night, the American TV audience reached an unthinkable inevitability – David Letterman, the reigning king of late-night, announced that he’ll be retiring in 2015.
After 22 years on “The Late Show,” the 66-year-old gap-toothed legend will be difficult to replace. The Internet is awash with reports, hearsay, and conspiracy theories about who is jockeying for his spot atop the after-hours talk show plateau, with guesses ranging from Jon Stewart to Maya Rudolph. However, there is a bevy of local celebs that the BDCwire staff thinks deserves a look, so we decided to lay down the odds on which Hub-affiliated personality is most likely to take up hosting duties on “The Late Show.”
Amanda Fucking Palmer (50-1)
Palmer is a natural performer and a big-personality showman who has proven both likability and unlikability. The former Dresden Dolls lead lady and Lexington native would be a great reward for local die-hards, but, alas, she’s not even on CBS’s radar.
The Great Hambino hasn’t been up to much since his early-90s heyday, so we’d love to see this freckled feel-gooder of yore step up to the plate for Letterman. However, nostalgia alone won’t sell this to the execs, and Renna is a total pipe dream.
After prime time is when the freaks come out. Freaks like Haverhill’s Rob Zombie. The post-gothic musician and director could bring the hellhound demographic into consideration for CBS, but we doubt the advertisers would go for that.
Hey, O’Malley hosted “GUTS,” so really, what’s the difference? The New Hampshire transplant would bring a great old-school Irish Boston feel to the airwaves. The dude was even nominated for an Emmy. Fancy, huh?
John Michael Higgins (35-1)
Higgins, who is most famous for his roles in Christopher Guest mockumentaries, has become the go-to dude for the funny color commentator in films such as “Dodgeball” and “Pitch Perfect.” Obviously, this gives the Boston local a leg up, but what really makes Higgins a veritable competitor is that he actually played Letterman in 1996’s “The Late Shift.”
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Britton is one of television’s most beloved character actors for her roles in “Friday Night Lights” and “American Horror Story.” Mrs. Coach Taylor would be a natural behind “The Late Show”‘s desk, we just need an exec with the balls to give her a shot.
One of the smoothest bastards on television, Slattery has already proven he can wear the shit out of a three-piece. Give him the updated helm of “The Late Show,” and this “Mad Men” star would likely catapult to Jon Hamm-level lovability.
Ever since his MTV show “Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous” folded in 2013, this YouTube celeb-cum-standup genius has been awaiting a second chance to break out. The Hamilton native surely has what it takes to uncork an A+ monologue, but network television may not be ready for his anti-PC brand of comedy.
With “Parks and Rec” falling apart at the seams, Poehler is on the hunt for her next regular gig. Though pundits are placing fellow former SNLers Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph ahead of her in their brackets, folks in Boston know that this Newton comedy queen is the right choice.
Boston’s resident hostess with the mostest, Menounos is all Hollywood all the time, which makes her one of the city’s most professional options to succeed. The Emerson grad has the chops to handle the spotlight for sure, but something about her feels so insincere. This might not matter to the Powers that Be, but she’s not our first choice because of it.
Everybody loves Mike Birbiglia. The Shrewsbury comic is one of the most relatable storytellers on the comedy circuit, and efforts like “Sleepwalk with Me” and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” have shown the depth of his creativity. Perhaps a bit too self-aware for the big stage, Birbiglia would be a pick that would change the culture of the program, but definitely for the better.
When last we saw Louis CK, in the series finale of “Louie,” he was giving the finger to “The Late Show” marquee as he departed for rural China. It’s pretty unlikely that, given this, the studio would reach out to Louis CK, but damn would that be ironic.
Look at this guy! What a handsome Newton boy. Charisma on charisma on charisma. Where Krasinski goes, cameras follow, and it’s about time we gave Jim another regular time slot so we can sit back and enjoy his magnanimous presence.
This Harvard-educated all-star writer has proven that he’s got enough jokes in his pen to drive an Emmy winner, so why not let him take a whack at hosting for once? Everyone knows Novak is going to be a comedy superstar, and the execs at CBS would be forthright to capitalize on this momentum first.
The heir apparent to Letterman’s mantle as host of “the Late Show” is none other than late night regular Conan O’Brien. It’s obvious to most that Brookline’s quaffed crusader is due some recompense for the fiasco with “The Tonight Show.” Plus, TV execs will be looking to go with what works, and O’Brien is a known commodity.
Even if it isn’t the oddball choice we were hoping for, Boston should still be proud when O’Brien is named successor.