The latest victims of the American script writers strike could be fat-cat talk show hosts, whose dependence on auto cues for their dialogue has made them more of a liability than an asset. Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O'Brien, who always appear to have something witty to say (apart from Letterman, who only laughs at his own unfunny jokes) are facing the ax only to be replaced by … sock puppets.
The reasoning is simple. It costs big bucks to pay a human talk show host whereas it only costs $0.99 to get a sock puppet (cost of one sock at Walmart). The human talk show hosts are completely dependent on auto cues, as has been demonstrated over the last 7 weeks, during which the three most famous and highly paid hosts have barely said a few words. One guest on the Jay Leno Show said:
"It was embarrassing. We just sat there. He looked at me and I looked back. Then we cut to a commercial break. Then we were live again. You could hear a pin drop in the silence. The audience hated it."
Two weeks ago Letterman tried to engage in conversation, asking a guest:
"Err … how … are … you?"
When the guest replied:
Letterman didn't know how to develop the conversation and slipped back into silence.
Psychiatrist Professor Heinz Baked Beanz told us:
"Zis is a classic case of auto cue -itis. The brain relies on ze auto cue to function. Ven zere is no auto cue, zere is no function, so no speech."
Television producers obviously agree. They have drafted in three "big hitter" sock puppets from the Richard James, Panthella and Burlington ranges, who are expected to pull audiences of millions with their quick wit and charm. Plus, they can be worn on one foot.
Since sock puppets don't have real eyes, they don't need to read auto cues, so it saves the TV studios millions of dollars in writers' fees, too.