“Larry King Live” signs off Thursday after 25 years on CNN and more captivating moments than we can count.
In recognition, here are five of the best of Larry — solid political interviews, bizarre celebrity disclosures, and lots of reminders that the last word in the show’s title is “Live.” Thanks for the memories, Mr. King. Especially the awkward memories.
1. Marlon Brando: Kiss the King
King visits Marlon Brando in his Beverly Hills home for an interview that goes off the rails in wonderful ways. As King tries to pin Brando down on his greatest roles, they’re interrupted by Brando’s 180-pound dog, Tim. It almost seems like Brando has scheduled the unleashing of the hound to avoid talking about his career. “How heavy is Tim?” King asks, changing subjects. “We’ll be right back with Marlon and Tim.” The interview ends with a song and a kiss.
2. Jerry Seinfeld: “Do You Know Who I Am?”
Seinfeld is stunned when King can’t quite remember whether his hit series went out on top… or was cancelled. “I was the No. 1 show on television, Larry. Do you know who I am? Seventy-five million viewers, last episode. There’s a big difference between being cancelled and being No. 1.”
3. Ross Perot and Al Gore: NAFTA
Perot and the then-vice president discuss the North American Free Trade Agreement in a single-issue 1993 debate that’s informative, thoughtful and engrossing. The folksy aphorisms fly. Could I finish?
4. Carrie Prejean: “Inappropriate King Live continues.”
Former Miss California Carrie Prejean takes off her mic and threatens to leave the show because King asks her about a confidential settlement. Or because he goes to a caller, who happens to want to ask about gay marriage. It’s never very clear, but gosh is it uncomfortable.
5. Lady Gaga: “Should I call you Larry or should I call you King Larry?”
King and Lady Gaga form a weirdly great rapport that feels based on mutual awkwardness. “Should I call you Larry or should I call you King Larry?” she asks at the top of their talk. Later she gives a surprisingly detailed answer to the question, “Do you have lupus?” Call him King Larry.
Bonus: Larry King
King talks to Anderson Cooper about some of the most famous people he’s interviewed, from Barack Obama to Frank Sinatra. Hilary Clinton: “Smart as a whip. Funny. It should come across more. Great sense of humor.” Obama: “Impossible not to like. You can disagree with him, not like his policies, even think he’s a socialist. You can not not like him.” Sinatra: “Every essence of what you want in a good interview.” Richard Nixon: “Hainting, doubting, brilliant, nervous and extremely fearful of ‘What do you want?’”