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« Susie Felber Wants to Know: Comedy Writing Team or Silicon Valley Company? | Main | Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at 02:30 PM »

Inside With: Joe Garden, Candidate for Host of Late Night - By: Ben Kharakh

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usJoe Garden, The Onion's Features Editor, is mad and he's just not going to take it anymore! What's he mad about? The state of late night TV. He's tired of people not taking chances and taking the route of hiring a name just because it's a name and having them go down the familiar road of late night failure. It's time for an unknown to step to the challenge and try something new. It's time to take a chance. It's time for Late Night with Joe Garden!

What inspired you to announce your candidacy for host of Late Night?
There's been a legacy of late night failures and I figured that it would be a good idea to throw my name into the hat in the most public way possible because you never know what you might achieve unless you try it.

What do you mean by failures?
The Alan Thicke Show, Chevy Chase, and so on. Too Late with Adam Carolla. Magic Johnson. The bar has been set pretty low. If someone's going to go on and fail miserably, I'd want it to be somebody who'd be willing to try something new.

What can you offer the audience of Late Night?
I think I'm a generally likable person. Not a lot in the looks department. I have a charming, goofy look but nothing that would make people stand up and say, "That's a guy that I can set my watch to." Overall, I offer a willingness to try anything to be liked.

How have you been preparing?
Little things here and there. I've been doing some comedy shows. The big thing was the announcement in the first place. As Onion features editor, I've been honing my comedy writing skills and I've taken improv classes. I look at it this way: when Conan started out, his best credit was that he was a writer on The Simpsons. He also worked on Saturday Night Live and a number of other things, but that was his biggest credit and, next thing you know, he has his own show. I think that I can go along the same trajectory. So, I also offer that television inexperience that people got when they first started watching Conan.

What sort of sacrifices are you willing to make in order to be liked?
I'm willing to sacrifice my morals, but I'm going to be choosey about guests. There will not be a Tara Reid or a Paris Hilton on Late Night with Joe Garden. I'm also willing to sacrifice my dignity and anonymity, and those are pretty big sacrifices in my book.

Where does your desire to be liked stem from?
Everyone wants to be liked; I just want to be liked on a larger scale.

What is the largest scale that you've ever been liked on?
As The Onion's features editor, I've had the chance to go to schools across the country. Well, various parts of the country. Mostly schools east of the Mississippi. That's not true. I did go to Nebraska, which is about as far west of the Mississippi as I've gone in that capacity.
If you can't host Late Night, who would you like to host Late Night?
I'd like another unknown to host Late Night. Somebody who will come along and surprise us just like Conan did. Someone who has less of an idea of what "works on television" would be willing to take more chances. I just got done listening to Late Night writer Brian Stack on The Sound of Young America, and I think he would do a really good job. He's extremely smart, funny and as nice as the day is long. I think he'd be good.

If you can't host Late Night, is there anything else you'd be willing to host?
Do you know of anything? Are you hiring?

I'm not, but maybe if you give out your information, some of the readers could offer something.
I'd emcee any number of private events, as long as there was catering involved. I'd happily host Late Night with Joe Garden on the USA Network or cable access. I'd host charity auctions as long as my appearance didn't detract from the overall charity. I'm not going to limit myself. There's nothing I wouldn't host provided it doesn't denigrate another group of people. So, I would not host a Klan meeting or an anti-Semitic event, unless the pay were really good and I could make it very good and clear from the outset that I didn't share their views.

How much of your time are you putting into the Vote Joe Campaign?
It's been difficult to do so at this point because I have a full time job and I have other responsibilities. I have cats, which always takes up a lot of time. I'm moving, which also takes a lot of time. It's like The Secret. I'm putting positive thoughts into the universe and, through the rules of attraction, that will eventually come back to me, I'm hoping. No, I know, that the universe will return that to me in the form of a hosting gig on Late Night.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhat sort of format would you be taking with Late Night with Joe Garden?
That remains to be seen. The current format is pretty good, in that there are all the conventions people have come to expect, but there's a weird element to the sketches that is just silly and entertaining. Considering it's on a major network, I would have to be realistic in that they wouldn't want to throw a bunch of money into a show that just wet off the rails from time to time. That said, if there were another smaller basic cable channel that was willing to try something different, I'd pattern it a little after Night Flight, the old USA Network show from the 80s. Weird music, art films, public domain movies, only with a live host trying to tie everything together.

Do you have any ideas for the sort of new things you'd be willing to try?
Whose Cock Is It would be one segment. The name pretty much says it all. This Week In Career Derailment. Viewer videos. Classics in Animation. Going back to Night Flight, I think of myself growing up in small town Wisconsin and being challenged as a viewer on a regular basis. It was an outlet for things that I would never have been exposed to otherwise. Granted, it would be harder to get a viewer ship these days, considering the fact that people have so many television options, but if I could get to that niche, I think it could take root and influence another kid in a small town to think "Why does this guy have a show? I could do that!"

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