The late night talk show is a dying art form. The success of 30-minute programs like The Daily Show and Colbert suggest that contemporary audiences want their shows to be quick and relevant, rather than a padded hour of fluff and filler, punctuated with fawning interviews.

Tastes may have changed because of the internet age and the more rapid delivery of information. Or they may have changed because these late-night talk show hosts sucked so bad they turned everyone off of the format altogether. We may never know.

Keenan Ivory Wayans – The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show

Premiering in fall of 1997 and running for about seven months, The Keenan Ivory Wayans show was just further proof that perhaps Keenan Ivory Wayans should have stuck with sketch comedy and not branched out into further realms, namely movies and talk shows. His house band was an all-girl band called “Ladies of the Night.”

His show was understandably marketed towards a black audience, but didn’t seem to find an audience with anyone, having gone up against a rival late night show called Vibe.

Unfortunately, if his show would have continued, he might not have found the time to direct Little Man. I hate Little Man.

Pat Sajak – The Pat Sajak Show

Remarkably, The Pat Sajak Show lasted for almost 18 months, which demonstrated that some people actually did want to know what Pat Sajak thought and felt outside the realm of vowel-purchasing.

A month before the show premiered, Sajak admitted he was “not looking to raise the level of TV,” and he planned to “steal liberally from talk shows past and present.” I’m sure that got everyone really fired up about his new talk show, eh? It didn’t help that the show was 90 minutes long, five nights a week. I don’t care how much you like Wheel of Fortune. That’s a shit-ton of Sajak. Too much, frankly.

Magic Johnson – The Magic Hour

I’m guessing that Magic had enough people come up to him and say, “You know, Magic, with your big smile and gracious demeanor, you would be a wonderful talk show host!” that he just decided one day that he was going to do it. I mean, his friend Arsenio Hall had one, so maybe there was a friendly rivalry going.

Unfortunately, a big smile and friendliness are not the ONLY criteria for being a decent talk show host. You also have to be interesting and funny. Magic didn't seem to be either of these things.

The show ran for three months in 1998, and it was a rough three months. Magic was visibly nervous during the entire run, he would kiss up to whatever guests he had on the air, and he didn’t seem to get along with his sidekick. In fact, that sidekick, Craig Shoemaker, was fired before the end of the show for calling it “an absolute nightmare.”

Stick with hoops, Magic.

Byron Allen – Entertainers With Byron Allen

If you don’t know about Byron Allen, then you, my friend, didn’t watch syndicated television at like 3 AM on a Friday or Saturday night back in the day. Byron Allen was basically a professional junket-goer, which means that his “show” was actually just clips of him interviewing celebrities as they pimped out their newest projects. Even as a fourth-grader, I had a hard time believing that Allen was actually in the same room as the celebs, as they often never appeared in the same frame.

Also, the effects and production values of the show probably cost about $20, and all that money went to a “swish” sound when he would switch guests. Just…just terrible.

Chevy Chase – The Chevy Chase Show

Chevy Chase is known to be one of the most insufferably mean people in the world of comedy, so signing him up for a nightly talk show on FOX (and promising advertisers that he would beat Letterman’s ratings) was wishful thinking. The main problem, beyond Chase’s demeanor, was the fact that he just wasn’t funny. He recycled old material, often pandered directly to the audience, and would often disregard guests to get a laugh for himself.

The show lasted for five weeks, but the last week was essentially a “wave goodbye” week, which must have been bad news for show employees, but good news for everyone else.

Dennis Miller – The Dennis Miller Show

Apparently SNL alums aren’t very creative when it comes to naming their talk shows. The show was actually pretty progressive for its time, offering alternative musical acts like Toad the West Sprocket and Henry Rollins, as well as some of the more irreverent comics of 1992. Unfortunately, it was hosted by Dennis Miller, who managed to get on everyone’s nerves during his eight-minute Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live, so the show didn’t last terribly long.

The show was only on once a week, but that proved far to frequent for the man known for peddling obscure references in a shrill voice.

John McEnroe – McEnroe

I can’t really speak to John McEnroe’s efficacy as a talk show host, and no one else probably can either, because the show regularly turned in a 0.0 rating on CNBC. You know what else gets a 0.0 rating? Unaired pilots. My fish tank. Even informercials would do better than McEnroe’s ill-advised talk show.

Remarkably, the show was able to stay on for six months in 2004 with those ratings, mostly due to the fact that the richest TV viewers were occasionally clicking over to CNBC to check stock prices, but I guess once they learned about the Internet, they were probably gone as well.

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