Readers Suggest Comedians for CNBC

Earlier this week, in response to the hand-wringing over Dennis Miller’s joining the Monday Night Football announcer team, this column suggested embracing rather than resisting the trend, and advocated the addition of a comedian to CNBC’s lineup, preferably in the afternoon. The problem is picking the right person, and since a number of Moneybox readers were good enough to pass along suggestions, I’ll share them with the rest of you.

Jerry Seinfeld’s name came up, and while at first I dismissed that as being unrealistically ambitious, I then paused and asked: Well, what else is the guy up to these days? It’s possible to imagine him doing segments on quotidian personal finance concerns–checkbook balancing, that sort of thing–but I don’t think his shtick would work during earnings season.

Someone else suggested Dennis Leary, which is interesting in that I always thought of Dennis Miller as the poor man’s Leary. He always seemed more authentically angry to me. So I think he’d be a welcome addition to the CNBC set, particularly if he spent most of his time pacing and smoking. Another good idea, I think, was the suggestion of Steven Wright, particularly on down market days, or as a person to interview technical analysts on a regular basis.

One correspondent took me to task for failing to include a woman, such as Minnie Pearl or Lucille Ball, in my earlier list of candidates. Those are some funny ladies, to be sure …  but they’re both dead. I don’t particularly care for Paula Poundstone or Sandra Bernhardt, and I don’t think Rosie O’Donnell or Ellen DeGeneres really work in this in context. Roseanne would’ve been great in her heyday, but I can’t figure out what she’s about anymore. Someone else suggested Julie Kavner or Tracey Ullman, and I like both of those ideas, though I think of both women as comic actresses rather than as comedians. But I really like the idea of Janeane Garofalo: She’s smart, she’s snarky, she’s materially successful and yet vaguely rebellious. I say sign her up.

But to digress briefly back to the subcategory of dead comedians for a minute: At least one person has suggested that Bobcat Goldthwait, a suggestion in the earlier column, is dead. As far as I can determine, this is not so. Perhaps you were thinking of Sam Kinison, who died in 1992? Anyway, in saying this, the reader referred to the latest installment of “Keeping Tabs,” in which the non-death of Bob Hope is explored. Which raises another possibility: Hope looks a little frail to be taking on a full-time gig, but maybe once a month? To talk about retirement or estate taxes? It’s a thought.