The world of the talk show is ablaze with variety. Jay Leno left and came back. Conan O’Brien took over Tonight. Jimmy Fallon took over Late Night. Craig Ferguson is positioned to take over The Late Show. Jimmy Kimmel continues to flourish and and David Letterman tangles with Sarah Palin. It’s a world in a whirl.
While all this turmoil, no one seems to be maying much attention to the arrival of Alexa Chung at noon. Her first show was yesterday on MTV.
The show proves to be variously gossipy and a little camp, like a slumber party for big girls. They have dressed Chung down as if to apologize for her beauty. And her manner is in any case breezy and unassuming. She is working from the British rule book marked “having drinks with your mates at the pub.” And in these circumstances it works quite well, even when she baffled one guest with the word “loo.”
There isn’t any stand up. Because its not about her. She doesn’t preside. She asks her guests (yesterday: Jack Black, Michael Cera and Soulja Boy) prepared questions and let’s them do most of the work. There’s no side kick, no band, and no desk. Chung is funny, coy, ironical, jokey, happy, and playful. Which is to say she has only one quality in common with David Letterman.
Apparently, we have to choose. Late night gives us male egos, precious little charisma, a certain predictability of personal style, and nothing much to look at. Chung on the other hand gives us unassuming beauty and a quirky charm. I wonder if she’s on to something.