Q: Watching The Dick Cavett shows, Iím reminded that whatís really missing these days—not just on television but in general—is wit.
A: Itís having bad days, isnít it? What many of the reviews of the Cavett Show DVDs are saying is, ďWhere would you get this kind of thing today?Ē—thereís really nothing like it on television. I wasnít egotistical enough to go around thinking that, but I do see that theyíre right.

Q: I read that ABC actually erased some of your old shows and now theyíre lost forever.
A: Yeah, the assholes in charge at that time saw no value in anything on tape—particularly since they could use it to tape Letís Make a Deal. I had my first Bob Hope show at ABC. I was so new and so semi-innocent that the camera caught me looking in the wings to see if Bob Hope was actually there.

Q: You met Groucho Marx by following him home from a funeral. You got your first break by ambushing Jack Paar with an envelope filled with your jokes. It seems like you owe much of your success to ballsy solicitations.
A: Thatís what they are. And they never seemed to come from a thought process. In that case, getting material to Paar—I just assumed I will just go there and try to give it to him. What have I lost if I fail? And what made it almost uncannily chancy was that he came out of a menís room at the exact time that I was looking for him in that very hall. The man who gave me the most golden advice ever: ďDonít make it an interview, kid. Make it a conversation.Ē

Q: You were friends with Johnny Carson, obviously, but you had people on your show who he wouldnít necessarily get. You had Joplin, Hendrix, Lennon
A: But also I had [diplomat] Averell Harriman and [economist] John Kenneth Galbraith. I think [Johnny] felt he wasnít likely to be able to handle some of those people. He could have done well—he wasnít a dumbo in any sense of the word.

Q: And now youíre a blogger for the New York Times. Whatís it like to go from being a talk-show host to essentially conversing with yourself?
A: I donít really know. It has struck me as strange. I like the people who say ďItís great having you back, even this way,Ē but Iím troubled by those who say ďWhy donít you do a show? Just go on and do one!Ē I donít know how to say ďIt doesnít work that way.Ē I would love to do a show. I suddenly realized that. For years it hadnít bothered me at all. But I realized I would be very good now, in some ways better than I was.