Top 10 Sexually Charged Late Night Interviews Of All Time
As we look forward to the multitude of possibilities in 2009, it's important to keep in mind that the future, while exciting, is difficult to predict. We can approach our goals with a carefully plotted precision, but even in the most calculated circumstances, sometimes things go horribly wrong. Take late night talk shows for example. The hosts do their best to keep the shows funny while maintaining the standards and practices enacted by the FCC, but that doesn’t mean they always maintain control. Sometimes the proverbial “crap” simply hits the fan.
In the spirit of hitting the fan in 2009, I’ve compiled an ultimate list of talk show interviews that go from completely innocent to sexually charged in the blink of an eye. Whether the transitions are the result of a single dirty comment, a series of inappropriate gestures, or a full-on strip show, nobody could have planned these interviews in advance. So put on your headphones, tilt your screen away from the boss' office, and enjoy the most sexually charged interviews (that are still SFW) in late night television history.
It takes a special kind of guest to catch Stephen Colbert off-guard. (Bear with me on calling Colbert a late night talk show host.) His sharp wit keeps him three or four steps ahead of typical guests, whether they're actors, writers, scientists or politicians. In this particular interview, however, actress Jane Fonda proves that even Colbert has his breaking point.
Even though Colbert probably had a game plan going into this interview, as soon as Fonda sits on his lap and plants one on his lips, he's doomed. This may be one of the few times you'll get to see Colbert drop character to nervously remind a guest that he's married. In the end, Colbert's commitment to his wife perseveres, but only after several minutes of pointedly uncomfortable flirting.
Sometimes a host wants to have a sexually charged moment with a guest, you know, as a joke. But sometimes the guest doesn't fully understand the joke. Here’s the scene: Jay Leno and Martha Stewart are cooking in the kitchen on Jay's show. Jay starts making awkward sexual advances on Martha. Martha recoils in horror and starts cooking faster and more erratically. Jay advances, Martha retreats. It's almost like watching Ape Week on Animal Planet. Finally, after a series of under the table sexual remarks, Leno tries to steal a kiss, and the onslaught of awkwardness comes to a close.
You can watch Conan O’Brien succeed where Leno failed below.
The Show: Late Night with Conan O'Brien
The Year: 1998
Even funny man Conan O'Brien doesn't always keep his cool. Midway through his 1998 interview with Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, the actress decides to indulge Andy Richter and Conan in a popular party game: they pass a piece of paper from one person's lips to the other without dropping the paper. All is going well until Conan drops the paper and goes in for a kiss. Rebecca laughs and decides to kiss him. Conan pauses for a moment, then goes absolutely insane: he screams, convulses, and basically throws the ultimate tantrum of testosterone. If John Stamos, Rebecca’s husband, had actually been in the room, Conan probably would have fought him. No guarantees on the win, but it would have been a good fight.
The Show: The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson
The Year: 1982
Johnny Carson was known for keeping his demeanor cool and his show classy. Even when he had his back against the wall or a small monkey on his head, Carson knew how to exit a situation gracefully. Therefore, it’s a rare and enjoyable moment when his drooling over Dyan Cannon builds to a stupor that’s only interrupted by Cannon's mention of how much time she has been spending with Carson's wife. It's especially funny if you consider the fact that their tension might have been part of an often-rumored affair.
Letterman usually has a quip for every comment that comes out of his guests’ mouths. But in his 2006 interview with Salma Hayek, as she discusses the development of her well-endowed chest area, it’s visibly difficult for him to put together a one-liner. Which really isn’t a problem with me: if Salma wants to talk about her girls, then by golly, let her talk about her girls. No jokes needed.
As soon as supermodel Izabel Goulart offers her cheek for Conan to kiss in their 2006 interview, he's irrevocably smitten. Next, when she tells him that she's looking for a guy like him, his brain almost melts. Maybe Goulart is just a great actress and the flirting is all an act, but her hair twirling is believable enough for Conan and the audience to hang on her every word. Although Conan is supposedly a happily married man, at least a small part of him must have wished he were single for a night. Watch the steamy video here.
In the now infamous interview with her then-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel, comedian Sarah Silverman premieres a video wherein she jokingly reveals that she's breaking up with him. The reason? She's been having an affair with Matt Damon for the past few weeks. Matt Damon cameos as himself, singing smugly about how great he is in bed. Kimmel’s expression toward Sarah at the end of the video thinly masks his irritation, and while he tries to hold it back, you can tell he's ready to burst as soon as he cuts to commercial.
Without revealing too much, this is undoubtedly one of my favorite late night clips of all time. Not only is there a slow build to Carson's amusingly raunchy outburst, but Dolly Parton is setting herself up for it the entire time. It's incredible to see Johnny Carson say something so lewd on his own show because he was well known for his generally respectful conduct. Granted, the conversation started out on breasts and ends on breasts, so there weren’t many clean places Johnny could take it.
As for Parton, it seems she became increasingly accustomed to the limelight that her "healthiness" provided her as she got older. Here’s a clip from a 2008 Leno appearance that’s simultaneously intriguing and downright unholy.
In a way, this video is the reason for this list's existence. Few late night talk show moments are as memorable (or as commonly searched for on Youtube) as this one. Drew Barrymore not only climbs on top of Letterman's desk to perform a table dance, but she also flashes him her breasts before descending back to her seat. Though the clip doesn't show you the preceding action, it's clear from Letterman's expression that nothing in the world could have prepared him for a mid-show striptease.
It just wouldn't be a historically accurate survey of sexually charged late night interviews with only one Jane Fonda showcase. In this clip, Fonda invents a fictional story about Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian born actress and socialite, just so she can make an incredibly dirty joke on the air. In our modern world of South Park and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, this sort of explicit language might not be quite so shocking, but when this episode of Carson's show first aired, a "cat joke" like Fonda's was completely off the wall.
Adding to the humor, Johnny Carson neither confirms nor denies the validity of Fonda's story, even though it is patently false. Carson refuses to respond, hoping that his silence will somehow to salvage the show. Perhaps there’s a twinkle in his eye that suggests Carson would love to join in the laughter, but as a generally classy guy he holds down the fort and maintains composure. If raunchy wordplay is your cup of tea, consider this the foundation for years of hilarious television vulgarity to come.