Jack Paar

The Turnaround with Dick Cavett

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Jesse Thorn
Guests: 
Dick Cavett

In this special, bonus episode of The Turnaround, Jesse speaks to the legendary Dick Cavett, whose eponymous The Dick Cavett Show debuted nearly fifty years ago. Throughout his storied career, Cavett distinguished himself as the consummate interviewer, and has played host to the most interesting and compelling figures of his era--Salvador Dali, Jimi Hendrix, Betty Davis, Groucho Marx, Angela Davis, Katharine Hepburn and more.

Cavett shares what it was like to interview a murderer, how he responded to an expletive-laden piece of hate mail he received and the difficult challenge of maintaining a conversation on camera while dealing with myriad distractions off camera. Before Cavett launched his show, he received a call from Jack Paar, who gave him this piece of advice: “Don’t do interviews...make it a conversation.”
On Friday, January 12th, The San Francisco Sketchfest will pay tribute to Dick Cavett at the Marine’s Memorial Theater. John Hodgman, Lance Bangs and Dave Hill will join Cavett on stage to commemorate his show’s 50th anniversary. Tickets are still available.

Be sure to visit CBS Decades to watch The Dick Cavett Show.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Thanks to producer Jennifer Marmor for the Dick Cavett special episode
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji
Music for The Turnaround provided by
Mobius Van ChocStraw.
Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

Dick Cavett, Talk Show Host and Author: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Dick Cavett

Dick Cavett is best known as a talk show host who spoke with (and listened to) some of America's most celebrated entertainers. With a playful yet sophisticated wit, he hosted The Dick Cavett Show, which aired on ABC and on PBS from the late 60s to the early 80s and won several Emmys. His past also includes stints writing jokes and working with Jack Paar and Johnny Carson at The Tonight Show. He currently contributes to the New York Times' Opinionator blog.

In his newest book, Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets, he tells some of his best stories about his time as an interviewer and host.

JESSE THORN: It’s The Sound of Young America, I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest on the program is one of the great talk show hosts of all time, Dick Cavett. He won three Emmy awards for his shows; both on ABC, and on PBS. These days, he spends a fair amount of his time as a blogger-columnist for the New York Times. Some of his favorite pieces written for The Times have now been collected in Dick Cavett’s Talk Show. I learned in the book that I would be remiss to introduce him without also mentioning that he was State Pommel Horse Champion of the great state of Nebraska.

DICK CAVETT: Absolutely.

JESSE THORN: Mr. Cavett, welcome to The Sound.

DICK CAVETT: Gosh, thank you for that.

Click here for a full transcript of this interview.
Click here to download or stream the audio of this interview.

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