I then proceed to waste more time than I should visiting a number of sites I track on a regular basis: Arts & Letters Daily, that smart aggregator run by the Chronicle of Higher Education; Jim Coudal’s coudal.com, another aggregator, one with a fond eye for the eccentric; and Tavi Gevinson’s wonderful rookiemag.com, which is aimed at clever teen girls but resonates beyond its target demo. (I love the “Ask a Grown Man” video feature, in which guys like Jon Hamm and Paul Rudd address pressing teen-girl concerns.) I’m also partial to Tom Sutpen’s If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger blog, a vast collection of vintage photos from the worlds of showbiz and crime, among others, which is altogether engrossing; and another excellent blog—davidthompson.typepad.com—run by a Brit (I think) of a libertarian bent, who posts links to various Internet oddities every Friday and spends the rest of the week very amusingly eviscerating the editorial windbags at The Guardian and other deserving fonts of political spew. [...]
About midday, I’ll venture outside to deal with whatever errands have accumulated. Along the way, I always pass a Korean deli outside of which the latest editions of the New York Post and the Daily News are stacked. I’ll briefly peruse the headlines for stories I’ve already seen online, then move along. Like a lot of people, I have a romantic conception of newspapering. Years ago, living in Europe, I worked for a tabloid that was very near its own printing plant, and at night, after work, I’d sometimes go over to watch the new edition come pouring out of the huge presses. It was a tremendously exciting world to feel a part of. So I love newspapers. But I haven’t felt the need to actually buy one in years. Which I agree is kind of sad.
AVC: When I interviewed Vince Morris last year, he said, “I believe the only way stand-up comedy can have the same kind of cachet and power that it did when [Johnny] Carson was around would be if Oprah spotlighted stand-ups.”
DC: Yeah, but then she’d have to have—don’t forget Jim McCauley, man. Jim McCauley picked all the comics. I hope he doesn’t get left out of the story, because when you were doing stand-up back then, and you heard he was in the room, everybody’s asshole tightened up. [Laughs.] It was like, “Oh my God!” Because he was the guy who picked whoever was on The Tonight Show. People auditioned for McCauley. That’s all you heard: “Man, I’ve seen McCauley 10 times, and he won’t let me on.” Jim McCauley this and Jim McCauley that. He was the gatekeeper to what comic got on. So if Oprah did it, she’d better have somebody picking somebody funny, especially new people, because a lot of times, they’ll pick guys—even Comedy Central—they’ll have their regular old spotlight specials or whatever they’re called, where you know it’s not a main guy, and you look at the special and go, “This guy’s not ready for a special!”
To make it nowadays, you have to be like Kevin Hart or Louis C.K. or somebody, where you can do an hour on HBO or Comedy Central that’s so killer that you can’t be denied. That’s the only way that that can happen. Or you have to be like Dane Cook, who just works it so hard that, the next thing you know, you’re doing 2,000-seaters and people are like, “Who the fuck is that guy?”