stage dive

Larry King, Still Live

Who, me?

You’re familiar with the theatrical concept known as “suspenders of disbelief,” I take it. No? Well, quickly then: It describes the incredulous shock one feels when Larry King — a.k.a. “the Tommy Tune of cable talk” — announces a tour of his very own one-man show. This live talk-tacular is titled Larry King: Standing Up, which would appear to set the bar rather low … were it not for the fact that Larry King hasn’t actually stood upright since Gulf War I. (I’m told that King’s groundbreaking 2010 interview with Snoop Dogg was accomplished via Avatar-style digital insertion: Snoop actually spent the afternoon with a tennis ball on a fishing pole.)

The tour’s been rumored for a while (as the crowds no doubt massing in Scranton-Wilkes-Barre can attest), but anyone who’s hoping for raw, unedited off-camera memories of celebrity jerkwads may be disappointed: As a friend of mine put it, “Judging by that press photo, he’s mostly going to talk about the time in eighth grade when he had to choose between going to a Brooklyn Dodgers game or playing spin-the-bottle at Sally Durwitz’s birthday party.”

Personally, I’m a little offended that Larry’s skipping the Broadway scene. Sure, we’re a little short on empty theaters right now, but to be run out of town by the likes of Colin Quinn and John Leguizamo — where’s your fight, man? Where’s your fire? Screw your suspenders to the sticking place! I know, I know, you’re conserving your energy for that much-anticipated mano a mano with Piers Morgan, your unctuous-Brit successor, whom you publicly dismissed as “oversold” and “not dangerous.” But Larry: Where’s your legendary taste for danger? Where’s the man who had the guts to grapple with Liza Minnelli? Who always had the stones to take interviews in unexpected directions? Who displayed such supreme savoir faire — such grace under fire when the chips were down — and was never afraid to fall gently asleep, live on air, if the situation called for it? How can you deny this sort of electrifying in-person entertainment to the world’s most discriminating theatergoers? Fie, Larry. Shame. I can fantasize a pair of suspenders onto Kathy Griffin, but it still won’t be you.

Larry King, Still Live