|Coming soon, The Bill Clinton Goodtime Hour.|
Late-night TV a good fit for Clinton's real talents
May 6, 2002
BY RICHARD ROEPER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
The problem with all this buzz about former President Bill Clinton doing TV is that we're speculating about the wrong kind of talk show.
Arkansas roots and Gennifer Flowers notwithstanding, Clinton isn't going to do a Maury-Jerry-Jenny-type sleazefest with themes like, "You're My Son's Teacher, But Your Makeup Makes You Look Like a Ho!" and, "You Slept With Triplets, So How Can You Say You're Not a Ho!" and, "It's Not Even Christmas, But You're Such a Ho Ho Ho!"
He's not going to host a morning program where he'd have to ask the most recently ousted contestant on "Big Brother 3" if she regretted trying to stab one of her housemates with a butter knife. Nor would he be right for a celebrity-oriented show where he'd have to pretend to be interested as John Travolta talked about his latest bad movie.
Clinton's got more of a late-night personality. Where did he shine brightest on TV? It wasn't on "60 Minutes" or during some debate or on the Sunday morning snorefests--it was when he was tooting his sax on "The Arsenio Hall Show," talking about his underwear on MTV and partying late into the night at the Democratic National Convention.
What I'd like to see is Clinton hosting a "Tonight Show" type of deal.
CUE MUSIC: A funky instrumental version of Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop (Believing)"
ANNOUNCER: "From Hollywood, California, where it looks as if the country was upended and all the beautiful babes fell from their hometowns and landed here, it's the Bill Clinton Goodtime Hour, with your host, BILLLLLLLLLLLLL CLINTON!"
[The studio audience applauds wildly as we see a montage of Clinton playing straight man to exotic zoo animals, wearing a George Washington costume in a skit and sharing laughs with guests.]
ANNOUNCER: "Tonight, Bill welcomes Britney Spears! Paris and Nicky Hilton! Ozzy Osbourne! And, in another installment of 'Jell-O Wrestling Jeopardy,' it's the Laker Girls against the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Pageant winners! Plus, Carmen Electra and the Bill Clinton Goodtime Hour Band! Ladies and gentleman, BILL CLINTON!"
[Clinton emerges from the wings, sprints to the edge of the stage and high-fives and hugs audience members.]
CLINTON: "Thanks, folks. Thanks for the high-fives and the hugs. Ah'll tell ya, I haven't been groped by that many strangers since the last time I went through security at LAX!
"Let's get right to the news. Did you hear about this high school dance in San Diego where the vice principal was lifting the girls' skirts to make sure they weren't wearing thongs? She's in big trouble now, but I don't see what the problem is. Back in my White House days, we did the same thing, and we called it 'interviewing the interns.'
"In other high school news, a wrestling coach in Indiana bit the head off a live sparrow at a team party. The bad news is, he got suspended. The good news is, he's got a guest shot on 'The Osbournes' next week!
"And how 'bout that Yasser Arafat. They finally let him out of his bunker and the first thing he asked was, 'Which girl got picked on "The Bachelor?" ' I like that show, 'The Bachelor.' Reminds me of the old days when I was horny, available and trolling for action. Yeah, last week was a lot of fun!"
[Bill is at his desk on a set that's a replica of the Oval Office. Britney Spears is his guest.]
CLINTON: "Are you single? I mean, tell me about your latest single."
BRITNEY: "I think it's my most personal song yet. It's called "I'm Not a Dominatrix, Not Yet a Tramp.' I wrote it. Well, I didn't actually write it, but I was in the room when my writers wrote it."
CLINTON: "Wonderful. And you're legal now, right? Ah mean, you're old enough to drive and to vote--and to appreciate the qualities of an older, more experienced man of great power."
CLINTON: "So you're single now, right?"
[Later in the show, Clinton interviews Ozzy Osbourne.]
CLINTON: "Now ah never inhaled--but you've done enough drugs to kill a Kentucky Derby champion."
OZZY: "Roight, roight. Iz shiggin figgin riggin, aza baggin zaggin daggin, roight? You know?"
CLINTON: "Where's a UN translator when you need one? Now your wife is an interesting character, and she's kinda cute. You know what would be fun? You sit there, and she'll come out and sit on my lap for the rest of the interview! Want to try that?"
[Clinton is surrounded by all his guests, including the cheerleaders and the Hawaiian Tropic contestants.]
CLINTON: "I want to thank all my guests for being here. Tomorrow night, we've got Halle Berry, Jessica Alba from 'Dark Angel' and Miss June from the Ridgid Tool Calendar. Good night, and remember, if you think this type of thing is demeaning for an ex-president, it depends on what your definition of 'is' is!"