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Interview With Andy Borowitz

Aired May 13, 2003 - 20:51   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I wasn't the only one watching the "Today"/"Tonight" switcharoo. Humorist Andy Borowitz, who is affiliated with the Web site watched as well. Thanks for being with us.

COOPER: What do you think about the idea of the swap?

BOROWITZ: Well, I think it was brilliant, because I mean, it was done on "The Brady Bunch." There was that very memorable episode when Carol and Mike switched jobs, and the results were actually fairly similar, because the man sort of didn't do so well and the woman did great, I guess.

COOPER: Why do you think that was? Why do you think Katie did really well, because she was great to watch, and Jay was good, but not received quite as well?

BOROWITZ: Well, you know, Katie was a tremendously professional comedian, because if you'll notice, it took her one minute to make her first fat joke about Al Roker, and most professional comedians will take two or three minutes to get to the first bad joke. So she obviously has been schooled.

Jay, I don't know, that moment when he was interviewing Colin Powell, you know, that probably did more for the manufacturer of TiVo than anything I've ever seen. He seemed so uncomfortable talking about foreign policy for some reason.

COOPER: Let's show a little bit of what Katie says about Al Roker, we have that clip.


KATIE COURIC: They want to know what is he doing to keep the weight off? Well, obviously, he's watching what he eats, very carefully, and he's also exercising, and in fact, every morning before the show, he does aerobics, and I have some footage. Al would, of course, kill me if he knew that I was showing this, but what the heck, roll the tape, you guys.


COOPER: That's funny. Where do you think she learned her comedic timing? BOROWITZ: I don't know, you know, I'm a member of the New York Friars Club, and I've got to say, the Friars are in awe of Katie Couric, because she managed to do a breast joke and a fat joke in about 20 seconds. Very professional job.

COOPER: Do you think she picked up a tip or two maybe from Willard Scott?

BOROWITZ: Possibly. Well, I think that is the thing that probably surprised people. You know, Katie for years has been under the shadow of that comic genius, and now she is of course free of that, and she can shine now.

COOPER: Why do you think it is that men usually have all these late night jobs?

BOROWITZ: You know, I'm not exactly sure why that is, but I think that's all going to change. Katie is something of a pioneer, and I think that now -- I've seen perhaps CNN's Christiane Amanpour having her own late night talk show. I think a lot of things could happen.

COOPER: Really, you think Christiane might...

BOROWITZ: Absolutely, Christiane. I think, you know, PBS's Sister Wendy. I think there are a lot of people out there who are really comedians (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

COOPER: Sister Wendy might have a show, you think?

BOROWITZ: Absolutely. Absolutely.

COOPER: You think sort of the whole buck-toothed stuttering nun thing is really (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BOROWITZ: Absolutely. She can get some good fat jokes in her repertoire.

COOPER: That's the key?

BOROWITZ: Absolutely.

COOPER: Do you think Leno has a future as a newsman or do you think he should stick to late night?

BOROWITZ: Well, I just don't think -- I don't like this whole idea of entertainers getting into journalism, it just makes me feel uncomfortable. I mean, I guess there's this whole talk now at NBC about Tim Russert and Courtney Cox switching places, which I'm not -- Tim Russert says he's really up for the challenge of playing Monica on "Friends," but I just don't think it's a good idea.

COOPER: Yes, maybe more of a -- I'm not sure who he would be better as, but yes, Monica, definitely not.

BOROWITZ: I think we all have to do what we do well. I think that's the lesson from all this, as it was on "The Brady Bunch."

COOPER: I don't remember that "Brady Bunch" episode too well. How did the switch go with the Bradys?

BOROWITZ: Well, I only brought it up not to one-up you, but so I could put it in some historical context. I didn't want to expose your lack of knowledge. But no, it's the same kind of thing where everybody was expecting Carol to fail, much as people thought Katie Couric would probably bomb. And actually she did very well. The parallels are eerie. It's a lot like that whole Lincoln-Kennedy.


COOPER: I'm much more familiar with the very special Brady episodes, the two-parters where they went down to the Grand Canyon, they met the Native American who gave them the idol, and then there was the tiki doll in Hawaii.

BOROWITZ: You have sufficiently impressed me with your knowledge.

COOPER: I was getting worried there. Katie Couric's legs, too, they actually took out part of Leno's desk so that you could see her legs?

BOROWITZ: Right. Which is something that I think we're all grateful they haven't done when Jay has been on there. I think that's a good thing. She was clearly enjoying the fact -- she's a very attractive woman, and she was clearly getting a chance to sort of strut her stuff.

COOPER: I think she did a good job.

BOROWITZ: She sure did.

COOPER: All kidding aside. And there they are, actually taking out the desk. I did not realize they did that. I missed that part of it.

BOROWITZ: I've got to say, if you're not a comedian, it takes tremendous guts to get up there and do that. You've got to give her some credit. Give her her props.

COOPER: Her peeps and her props. Absolutely. All right, Andy Borowitz, thanks. It was fun.

BOROWITZ: Great to be here.

COOPER: And great article about you in the "Wall Street Journal." Congratulations. Front page article this man has, bestowing him praises, as well they should have.

BOROWITZ: Thanks so much.

COOPER: Thank you for being with us tonight.


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