Watching Jon Stewart get the stitches in his wrist removed by Cameron Diaz on The Daily Show was the best late night TV experience I've had since Drew Barrymore flashed Letterman (and that was a looooong time ago). Yes, it was beyond disgusting to see the not-medically-trained actress tug and snip at the black threads tying up Stewart's rather angry-looking wound, but you couldn't look away, could you? Could you??
The best part is that just the night before, Diaz made a disappointingly flat appearance on David Letterman. That clip sort of exemplified the "old guard" approach to late night TV, and why it's the "old" guard: A stale, supposedly spontaneous but obviously rehearsed little charade that was both awkward and boring (for Diaz, Letterman, and us). Oh look, Cameron fed Dave a piece of popcorn. Snore.
Then, merely a day later, a bold and daring leap into the future of after-hours talk shows! Spontaneity is only ... spontaneous when nobody knows what's going to happen. Just imagine the things that could have gone wrong once Diaz started pulling those strings! Blood! Screams! You know, good TV. Which is exactly how Stewart got those stitches in the first place (he accidentally broke a glass and slashed his wrists during a Weiner-roasting sketch).
In situations like these, we get to see hosts and guests for who they really are, and that's what late night TV is all about, Charlie Brown. Or it's what it should be about. Let morning and afternoon talk show hosts make careful plans around censors and craft perfectly inoffensive personas. By 11 p.m., that kind of schtick is going to put me right to sleep. If you want to make me laugh, you're going to have to be outrageous enough to keep me awake! Check this out and tell me it wouldn't keep your eyes wide open.
What did you think about Diaz performing impromptu surgery on Stewart?