I watch a lot of late night television. A lot. At the time it actually comes on. Late. I don’t record it or DVR it or whatever else people do these days. I simply know when shows come on, and then I sit in front of the television at that time and watch them. If I were too busy to do that, I would have to reassess my life. Many times, when Leno or Kimmel are on commercial, we turn the channel to Letterman, and my husband asks for the umpteenth time why he is still on the air. My hub has no memory of Dave’s heydey decades ago; all he sees is the crochety beige shell of a host who lost his humor and his sass well before the Towers fell. He’s like that cantankerous old ventriloquist dummy, Walter. Sometimes we think, “This will be the night that the Top Ten is actually funny.” But it never is. Never. I tell him I’m pretty sure they did a really funny list in 1993, but then I remember even Conan was funnier than Dave that year. Crap, that was twenty years ago. TWENTY. One score. Yeesh.
Nonetheless, Dave, Jay, Craig, Conan, and the two Jimmies have one thing in common: guests. They share the same guests. We see the same actors in different suits, night after night, promoting the same movie with the same clip and the same set-up that gets really old. But even this pales in comparison to what really gets my goat. And a week never goes by without it happening. Sometimes it happens twice in one night. And it’s never the actors, only the actresses. And no, it’s not their ridiculously short dresses that they intermittently tug down, as though they had NO IDEA how it would register on camera, as though a stylist strapped them down in a chair and dressed them against their will, never explaining how fabric bends when one moves from standing to sitting, or worse–some madman appeared just before they went on stage and hacked six inches off their dress with a cleaver. The nerve!
But that’s not it. What chaps my hide is how often they touch their hair. I don’t mean once or twice. I mean every couple of seconds. Inhale, touch hair, exhale, be normal. Inhale, touch hair, exhale, sit still like a composed human being. And they try to play it off as though they weren’t doing it. Jay Leno will say a witty retort, and they will laugh nervously, and bang! There goes the hand up to the face. Half the time, their hair isn’t even IN their face to begin with. They just want to touch it, like they’re Kelly LeBrock and they just started using Pantene, and they can’t believe how touchable it is. It is so annoying. Sometimes they will take the same strand of hair and attempt to pull it back behind their right ear, but it’s just a TOUCH too short, and so it immediately falls forward, and yet they spend the entire segment, fiddling with it, yanking and falling, yanking and falling. Katie Holmes is the worst! And no, it doesn’t make you look cute and sweet and humble, and aw, shucks. It makes me wonder 1) why are you so damn insecure if you are a famous Hollywood actress millionaire or 2) you need to upgrade your Hold Control on your hairspray. Can I suggest TRESemme (ooh la la) extreme hold? That’s like five dollars at Walgreen’s, and that crap’s not moving. Not in a tsunami.
I’m not talking about hair twirling. It’s not just a casual, playful thing. It’s moving it back, moving it out of the face, pushing it away, over and over and over and over again. Mila Kunis. Demi Moore. It’s not sexy. It’s distracting. Don’t their publicists tell them to ix-nay the hair-touching after so many repeat offenses? Look, if you simply cannot control yourself, perhaps you should do what Scarlett Johansson so often does. Wear an updo with nary a tendril in sight. Pulled completely off the face. Then there’s nowhere to hide. And isn’t that the point? Aren’t talk shows for shameless self-promotion? If you still can’t fight the fixation, then just grab the water mug and sip. Some people do that a lot. Just don’t take it to extremes. Maybe you could tug on your earlobe like some hyperactive Carol Burnet. Bring that one back into vogue. Or rub that chin hair nub back and forth, the one you plucked three nights ago. Or–and this is crazy–you could simply fold your hands in your lap and act like a lady–and I can’t believe I’m saying this–like Britney Spears did on Kimmel last September. She kept her hands in her lap and off her face. She did have the world’s shortest oufit on, though. And she was all stiff, like maybe she needed to pee. But her hair looked fabulous, all Barbarella and sexpot. And she barely touched it at all. Go, Britney!