Well, perhaps that’s a bit bold of a statement. Granted, I’ve always had a tiny crush on Bonnie Hunt ever since I saw her in the movie Jumanji, but that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m talking about her daytime talk show, “The Bonnie Hunt Show” – not to be confused with her sitcom “Life With Bonnie” from a few years ago that I somehow completely missed, and that makes me feel like I was totally robbed.
My bride of almost fourteen years, Robin, has the amazing lifestyle of being able to stay at home during the day and do volunteer work for our church whenever the need arises. God has been gracious enough to make that happen for us, and I’m perfectly fine with that because I enjoy working, and Robin enjoys… well… NOT working. So I guess we’re both happy.
The problem with being home during the day though (and I discovered this myself last week when I was sick at home with the worst sinus infection in American history), is that there is nothing on television to watch. Nothing. Oh sure, you can catch “The Price is Right”, but for those of us who don’t do the shopping at our house and have no idea what the cost of a bottle of Clorox might be (nor do we care to know) we’re at a loss when it comes to something engaging and fun in daytime television.
But my wife stumbled upon “The Bonnie Hunt Show” a few months ago, and last week after seeing only a handful of episodes I have to say that I am infatuated (is that a better adjective?) with Bonnie and her show. Bonnie Hunt does the kind of daytime talk show that I might do if I were given the opportunity. (And boy, am I jealous!)
As a radio personality and comedian myself, I admire guys like Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. In fact, all guys like me want to be guys like them. However, as a morning radio show host, I never get to stay awake at night late enough to watch my heroes… and I find myself wishing there were something of a “late night” style in the daytime. After all, there are just so many times you can watch “The Beverly Hillbillies” before your mind begins to feel like a cement pond.
Sure, I could TiVo “Late Night with David Letterman”… but that would require me actually getting TiVo. And I do have my old VCR, but have you ever tried to program one of those things? You first have to get it to stop blinking 12:00 o’clock, and I’ve yet to get past that hurdle. Also, my VCR was purchased before the daylight savings times got legally changed (thanks, Congress!), so half the year the VCR clock would be wrong anyway even if I could get it to stop blinking.
So my solution was to someday get “discovered” by some television executive and have my own late-night-daytime talk show. But dang it, Bonnie Hunt beat me to it. That’s probably for the best, as I had no idea how to make the “discovery” happen. Really, how long can you wait around in the men’s bathroom of ABC’s offices in Chicago before security tosses you out? (One hour, 8 minutes and sixteen seconds… I timed it.)
Bonnie’s show begins in a playful, childlike manner, breaks into a jazzy brass-filled theme (love it!), and then Bonnie comes out and plays the part of… well… Bonnie. At least I assume that’s who she’s playing. If Bonnie Hunt isn’t playing Bonnie Hunt, but is actually putting on some persona for the camera, then she’s the most underrated actress ever to walk the face of our planet. She seems so real, like a next-door neighbor, that you’d swear she has no script whatsoever and is making it up as she goes along. Maybe she is. If so, she’s also one of the most quick-witted women born, and I’m now more smitten than ever.
My absolute favorite part of any late night style show is the opening monologue where the hosts rip out some headlines, insert some punchlines in machine gun fashion, and kick the show off with some energy and laughter. I love that stuff so much that I write it for my own syndicated radio show. I once tried to audition to write for Jay Leno, found his fax number, and started sending jokes to him every day. Did you know that sending unsolicited faxes is considered illegal? Who knew?
I’d offer to write for Bonnie – but I’m sure she’d never hear of it. To stand in front of a camera and do punchline after punchline would take away from the adorableness that is Bonnie Hunt. It wouldn’t be Bonnie.
Bonnie’s monologue takes place from behind her desk. She plays (very well, I might say) with her sidekick, Don Lake, who also appeared in Bonnie’s sitcom as a clown! (Gosh I love the Internet Movie Data Base!) Don is a master at saying just the right thing to give Bonnie an opening to make an offhand sly or witty remark. While Letterman and Leno have their band leaders to play off of, it always seemed forced to me. Bonnie and Don seem genuine in their interaction, again, like it is all unplanned.
“The Bonnie Hunt Show” isn’t slick. It isn’t overly-produced. It isn’t full of funny benchmark after funny benchmark, nor is it overly cute and cuddly like many daytime talk shows. However, Bonnie is more entertaining than Tyra Banks will ever be.
And she is cuter.