tv Charlie Rose PBS August 12, 2015 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with the front page story from larry to c.e.o. google that the company will change its way of doing business and business structure. joining me are henry blodget, kara swisher, brad stone and farhad manjoo. >> no one likes to get old. for all intents and purposes, they're old in silicon valley, so they're trying to re-create that startup, that garage. everyone may deny it in silicon valley, but all they want is the startup mentality. you will hear google saying, the most powerful and sometimes frightening company on the planet, oh, we're just a startup. what the heart of what they want to be is young so this maybe gives them a little youth and innovation. >> rose: we continue with former white house chief of staff john sununu and his book
"the quiet man, the indissable presidency of george h. w. bush." >> it had to do with the way he conducted himself in public life. i related back to an admonition from his mother, george, don't brag and bend your knees when you vole. i point out there are two messages he took to heart. he did not like to talk about himself. he did not like to brag about his achievements. he did things and hoped people would notice them rather than making sure they noticed them. >> rose: we conclude this evening with colin quinn. he has a new one-man show called "colin quinn, the one-man story." >> they say, what happened to the movie? what happened was, we go to the comedy crowd, they're looking at you. you better get in touch.
>> rose: changes at google. john sununu and colin quinn when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> rose: additional funding provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
is to increase management scale and focus on its consolidated businesses. search, youtube, android and other internet products will be run by the new c.e.o. googlele vestment arms, life sciences venture, google x which produced a self-driving car. larry page and sergei will run the new parent company called alphabet. in a blog posted monday, larry page wrote we like the name alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations and is the core of how we index with google search. joining me kara swisher, co-ceo and excutive editor of re/code. brad stone is bloomberg businessweek. and farhad manjoo, write about technology at the "new york times" and henry blodget, co-founder, c.e.o. and editor-in-chief of business insider. i'm pleased to have all of them
here. henry, why did they do this? >> this is something i think a lot of people thought is long in coming. google has been making massive investments and a lot of the unrelated projects you mentioned, life sciences, self-driving cars, things that look like they're wasting capital, so wall street is eager to see real capital discipline. that's one. we're going to get to see what google's business looks like on its own and we'll have a better sense of where the money is going. the other piece is google c.e.o. larry page has made quite clear to those observing him over the years that he doesn't have much interest in google's core business, the media and search business. he is more fascinated by the projects like self-driving cars and others. now he will be able to folk on those while someone else runs
dooling's core business. >> rose: he has many things he said that suggest varied interests which includes the role of corporate society. what would you add, farhad. >> over much of google's history, larry larry seems conflicted. google's mission has been to try to run a search company and basically everything it does inside its core business is to index information and work off this data. but he himself has been interested in many pursuits and they've seen google as a way to throw out cash and invest in all these other businesses. i think this will give him an opportunity to be somewhat involved in the main business. he'll still be the main boss. if he wants google, inc. to do something, it would still do it, but it gives him more scale and the opportunity to work on these other byes that his attention might have been divided from. >> rose: kara? i think it's almost
meaningless. it's the same structure, run in the same way. it's interesting to this group, the the way it was running before, but pretty much it makes for great headlines and we can all make alphabet jokes. but in general, it's a statement of what they've been doing before. mark zuckerberg has a social network but bought oculus. jeff sells books and other things. i think it's just a statement of what they have already been doing and a restructuring of what was already structured the way it was. so not much different to me. >> rose: brad?
well i think google 15 years into its life here, you know, face as challenge which is how do you preserve a fertile environment for high achievers, let's call it c.e.o. types? they have had success. they recruited art levinson to runicle co, the life sciences division. but investors like sundar pichai, they need to keep him happy as they codify additional responsibilities. but larry never cared for talking to regulators, testifying before congress, talking to media companies and telephone companies, regulators in europe, navigating the uncomfortable relationships. eric schmidt has done some of that, i think pichai will do some of the things larry didn't want to do. >> rose: do you think the market will react positively? >> it already has, the stock is up the last day and a half. investors are looking forward to increased transparency on the business. we'll now see how incredibly
unprofitable things like google x and calico and sidewalk and all these other interests are and how massively incredibly profitable the google subsidiary is. sundar will keep advertisers happy with google and not moving off to facebook and a amazon. >> valuing the assets separately has been going on for a long time at amazon, maybe the retail commerce business is worth this and the web services business is worth this. >> rose: but they haven't had the evaluation till recently. >> amazon provided specifics and it will be easier for google. this is what google's profit is and they're investing a tremendous amount of cash flow in all the projects, this might be worth something and how much, then add up the pieces. >> rose: were these other investments dragging down in
some way? >> they certainly made google look much less profitable overall. what it is sun certainty. you just don't know. farhad alluded to larry page talked about a lot of different projects, all doing different things, is the c.e.o. distracted, wasting money? now it will be much more clear about how the core business is running and where the rest of the cash is going. >> i didn't mean the to say it will be clearer, but larry page will be amenable to what tin vesters want. he'll still run the company the same way and even if it's clear the ventures are losing money, they've said from the start they're willing to spend money on things that may not pan out in a while, and they're willing to tolerate the stock market not liking the way they spend the money because they think the big bets are worth pursuing. >> rose: what's the big bet. probably life sciences or the car area.
the problem is they could have just given more transparency to the units as it is. the units are not being spun out. they're part of the same corporation. it is same numbers and we all knew these moon shots were losing money. i don't even think they'll probably give much detail on that. we'll see. they're not very detailed oriented or things like that. they're trying to answer with the new c.e.o. is very well regarded on wall street and she started using word like transparency and cost cutting. but they didn't cut these or spin them off or make them separate, they're still the same company. so that's why i'm saying it's meaningless from a real point of view, it just means larry doesn't have to talk to the press anymore. >> doesn't have to go to the office. >> he can talk to you, charlie. but there's five people in alphabet.
sergey, larry, eric schmidt -- and they have no p.r. function, nothing else, so he can separate himself from everything and let sundar and others take the forefront which is what he was doing. >> rose: what roll was eric play now? >> i think the same. the question you have i have is who deals with the regulators at google? separate legal or regulatory teams? google faces stringent issues in europe especially they have to deal with. is that still larry and eric, alphabet, google? >> eric's worked on this four and a half years in europe and it's been a disaster. no fault of his own. the political client in europe toward american technology company is very hostile but eric thought he had a settlement with the previous competition commissioner in europe. the settlement never came up for a vote. a new competition commissioner and she basically filed the equivalent of an indictment against google in europe.
sundar is known -- we haven't talked enough about him -- he's known inside google as kind of a peacemaker. he took over android when it was run by it's previous operator and founder when it was at war with other elements of google and sundar's leadership, it's been more integrated in the company. he's affable, always a word that comes in relation to sundar. he's a great politician. i expect as regulators goes to mountainview and the telecompanies that are piling on in europe, sundar will be the ambassador and i think will join eric in taking the lead. >> rose: was there some real threat he may go somewhere else if he didn't become a c.e.o. at google? >> i don't think an immediate threat. a couple of years ago, twitter did approach him, and he stayed. he was well compensated at google and larry's given him
more and more responsibility. he's an operator, he delivers. he has an incredible story. he grew up in india, his family is middle class, but they didn't have a telephone or a tv. they piled on to a scoot tore get anywhere. just through sheer talent and intelligence and skill, he scott a scholarship at stanford and in the last eleven years scaled the ranks of google. >> he's been on every list of every c.e.o. job in silicon vale. microsoft, he was in that group. the twitter c.e.o. list. every time there is a c.e.o. opening, sundar's name is at the top of the list. so a big threat for google is creating a startup environment in an enormous company. they've done a good job. >> rose: we agree core business is search and
advertising. where will that business be in ten years and what will threaten it? >> the move to mobile is already threatening it. a lot of what used to happen on the web is now apps, and don't have to search on apps. that's eroding google's position long-term. >> the big opportunity for google forks all ad businesss all the money that's going to come out of tv and where that's going to go is the big question. at the moment, seems like facebook is the best position to get that money. facebook is a property that feels, you know, when you use it, it feels very much like tv. you know, you're not there to do a transaction like you are on google. feels like you're having fun and tv is targeting you in this native way that feels like part of the platform. google struggles to get that business. sort of the big opportunity
there, many people think facebook is better positioned. then the shift to mobile, we may not search as much. our phones may be able to surface information to us and if apple takes a greater lead in that, google will be in trouble in that business. >> search is ending. how we do search with a word and typing it into a box is over. it's pretty much over for the most part. the way things will happen is intuitive, personalized, it will be already knowing, smart and intelligence and social. those are all the different cues. those are issues google has. what's interesting is they stuck youtube within google. you won't see those numbers. there is a question of how well it's doing, what's making money and how google is managing the property, one of the greatest properties on internet which
people think is underleveraged. >> rose: is or is not making money? >> it's not clear. i think it's not making much if it is. >> rose: even though it's a fantastic property. >> fantastic. >> rose: and video is the most important thing happening. >> absolutely. one of the things we've seen in the last couple of years is these amazing video platforms from rivals. facebook has 4 billion videos a day. snap chat has 3 billion video plays a day. so there is room in that market for competitors and youtube failed to lock up the market the way you might have guessed it would have a few years ago. >> rose: tell me what the role of rgey is. >> sergey is the president of alphabet. i think things will change for him. he's the head of google x which includes project lun and other moon shots. if anything, larry is joining sergey is being able to see the
forest for the trees and hit the long-shot technology changes that might yield for google. >> i don't think either cared much for being a c.e.o. though he is a competent c.e.o. >> rose: i think he cared more about being a c.e.o. than sergey but i don't think he wanted to be a c.e.o. >> yeah. >> rose: there was a point in which when he ascended to that job, it was because he wanted to, period. >> yeah, he wants to still set the tone, believe me. he will be in charge of the company. he will be running the company and what he wants to happen will happen. i think the big challenges for google are in the future. where they can get growth. the self-driving cars is critically important. healthcare is the area, and the drone stuff, i'm fascinated by the experiments with the drone and the low-level site area. >> rose: the interesting thing, as larry mentioned berkshire hathaway and the model there, is that an appropriate
model he might aspire to? >> in a way. t doesn't quite work here because really what's happening here is this is more like a venture arm. google, inc. is sponsoring all thee other companies. it's not like brookshire hathaway where you have a bunch of well-running, well-functioning companies that are making money. >> they're doing are r&d on a grand scale. >> rose: who? google. they're taking millions of dollars and saying let's figure out internet balloons and self-driving cars. as members of an economy, we should be glad that a corporation is doing this and glad that corporations like amazon are making the huge bets they are and deferring some profit -- >> rose: you think it benefits the national economy. >> absolutely. >> rose: they need to be doing these things if they're equipped and have the resources both in terms of talent as well as financial? >> that's right. we become so obsessed with return on investment, maximizing
quarterly profitability. companies like google are actually deferring some of the profitablability and saying let's make bets on the future. >> except they're public companies. it's great people tolerate this but they are public companies are shareholders. these are being paid for by shareholders and if they're tolerant of that, it's great, it's not like it's the government doing it which used to do all these things. >> rose: they know more about what's being done and the numbers are about what's being done. >> we'll see. i don't know. >> the stocks already jumped as a result. >> yeah, of course, they'll say transparent, cost cutting next week, something else. but i think it's the same google like it's the same amazon. these people are interested in building something a little bigger and going public is one weigh station along the way of what they're enjoying which is
really exciting innovation and we'll see how it goes. >> rose: let me ask all of you this -- is there something to be learned from microsoft's experience when they were on top of everything and had more money than god and all of a sudden, you know, they lost their place. did they lose their place for any of the reasons that might be motivating google and amazon and others? >> i think absolutely. i mean, microsoft, as you said, top of the world ten, 15 years ago, invested a lot in microsoft labs and innovation lab had their moon shots. i remember visiting hike soft labs in 2000 and seeing all sorts of interesting 3-d screens and gadgets and they didn't commercialize any of them. it just seems like google, aside from trying to avoid a lot of other microsoft's mistakes including some in the regulatory field, has said we're not going to do that. we're not going to sit on the next thing, and larry keeps
elevating himself to really focus on that and i think that's what he's doing here. >> it's incredibly difficult. microsoft surfed the pc wave perfectly, google caught this wave perfectly. when we look at the companies and say, oh, you obviously blew it, we underestimate how hard it is when you build a battleship and suddenly a little speedboat is going after new opportunity and growing so fast you still have to worry about your core business. it's hard to do. they also want to be startups. no one likes to get old. for all intents and purposes, they're old in silicon valley. so they're trying to re-create the startup, the garage. they deny it in silicon valley, but all they want to do is be in the startup and startip mentality. you will hearing google sailing the most powerful and sometimes frightening company on the planet saying, oh, we're just like a startup and it's
perplexing and at the same time at the heart of what they want to be is they want to be young, so this maybe gives them a little youth and innovation. >> rose: thank you, kara. thank you farhad, thank you henry. we'll be right back. stay with us. >> rose: john sununu, former governor of new hampshire and george h. w. bush's chef of staff and presidential campaign. in a new book, he offers an account of the former president's time in office, it is called "the quiet man, the indispensable presidency of george h. w. bush." pleased to have john sununu back at the the table. welcome. >> thanks for having me, charlie. >> rose: this is a book, the beginning of books about george bush. the man has another son running for president. >> it's been one of the products of the bush -- >> rose: yeah, who would have known. >> you know, it's interesting to
see how similar they all are and how different they all are. each one has their own positive attributes and i think they've all made great contributions to the country. >> rose: you think jeb's got a chance? >> i think jeb has a chance. i am myself partial to governors and former governors. i think the country needs someone who's been a chief executive in the state to fix the mess they're going to run into in washington, someone who's handle the legislature and made the isolated decisions of a chief executive, and there's a handful of them in the race. >> rose: you're describing the kind of man that defeated george h. w. bush. >> and the kind of man ronald reagan and franklin roosevelt and as you said bill clinton was. >> rose: and to deal with legislators. >> it's the key to getting a successful agenda through. i think one of the problems the
current president is having is that he never had to do that before, and it's an art form. >> rose: and it's politics. when i became governor, the first thing i had to learn was that the inefficiency of government is one of its greatest strengths and that you have to work with that inefficiency to bring all side together to get something done. >> rose: we've taken that too far, though, in washington, haven't we? >> well, i think what's happened in washington is that nothing happens in washington without good presidential leadership. neither party functions well without good presidential leadership, and the president has to burn political capital in order to lead well. >> rose: well, george bush 43 is what he said at the beginning of his second term. i've got political capital, i intend to use it. >> and to a great extent, i think one of the reasons the presidency of george h. w. bush was so successful is he was willing to burn his political capital for the good of the
country. >> rose: so he said in his convention speech, which i happened to be there, he said, i'm a quiet man, but i hear the quiet people. others don't. what did he mean? >> it had to do with the way he conducted himself in public life. i related back to an admonition from his mother -- george, don't brag, and bend your knees when you volley. and i point out there is really two messages in that that he took to heart, he did not like to talk about himself, he did not like to brag about his achievements. he did things and hoped people would notice them rather than making sure they noticed them. but the second part, i think, was also part of george bush, you know, bend your knees when you volley. what she was saying there is, when you're doing anything, there's a right way to do it, so whatever you do, do it the right way, and that was the president i knew and i worked for. >> rose: that's the serving on
a tennis court. >> right. and he lived his life that way. when he did something, we wanted to, first of all, find out the right way to do it and then execute it that way. >> rose: tell me about the man rather than the president. >> well, let me tell you what he's not. you remember "newsweek" called him a "wimp." >> rose: yeah. you know it made him so angry. >> this is a man who flew 58 combat missions, was shot down, rescued by a submarine and, you know, the iconic moment of somebody had a camera there and was able to take pictures of him being rescued on the submarine. he was a strong man. he was a quiet man. he was -- >> rose: dropped out of college to go join the -- >> no -- >> rose: did he finish? he finished high school and enlisted and became the youngest navy aviator, and it broke his
father's heart, but he did. he went in, and then he came back after the war, went to yale and finished yale in two and a half years. he's a smart man, but, you know, he had an interesting and important attribute for a president. he had no qualms recognizing that other people knew slices of issues better than he did, and he wanted to hear from them all the time, and he did. he asked them to come in and talk. >> rose: what was his most outstanding achievement as president? >> i think there's two. i think his broad foreign policy achievements everyone gives him credit for, nurturing the collapse of the sowf union and the gulf war, but i think he deserves a special credit for how successful he was as a domestic policy president. he proposed and passed more domestic legislation than any president except lyndon johnson or franklin roosevelt and more
conservative legislation than any president in history. >> rose: and which piece of legislation do you think so he's the most proud of. >> even though he ended up apologizing in the campaign of 1992, i think the budgets of 1990 turned out to change the budgeting rules, put a cap on spending, required pay as you go, it had three and a half times as much cuts in spending than the tax ransom of tax that he had to accept and created the surpluses of the '90s and the growth of the '90s. even though he was criticized for it, it's one of the most important things that a president has done for this country's economy. the clean air bill, the civil rights bill, the americans with disabilitieamericans withdisabie bill, the deregulation of energy which we're now really reaping the benefits from. he took subsidies, a big chunk to have the subsidies in agriculture, creative incentives for exports and really pushed
our agricultural economy into being the biggest exporter of agricultural goods. >> rose: majority leader. george mitchell was ma jortd leader. 55-45 in the senate. tom foley speakerrer of the house. it was tough sledding but this president worked hard at creating the personal contact and personal interac necessary to get things done -- interaction necessary to get things done. example, we were doing the budget. the chairman of ways and means, we had him to the white house about two dozen times for one-on-one meetings with the president when we were struggling to negotiate the budget and they haggled out the details with the president and chairman of the ways and means rose: he famously said read my lips, no new taxes. >> no new taxes. and people believe he broke
that pledge is the reason that contributed to his defeat. >> i think it did contribute to his defeat. i think the reason he broke the pledge is that the country needed a multi-year budget. tom foley and george mitchell, as the democratic leader, had decided there would be no budget without him paying the ransom of having to accept a tax. so we negotiated a five-year package, and the tax in that package was an increase in the gasoline tax, which has not been adjusted for inflation for nearly a decade, and he got three and a half times the size of that tax increase in spending cuts, got the spending rules i talked about, and then, when gingrich and some of the republicans revolted, the democrats took a port of that gas -- part of that gasoline tax increase and made an increase in the personal income tax. >> rose: the defeat to brooklyn was huge and
devastating personal -- >> it was. ross perot came in and got some of the vote that would have gone to george h. w. bush. but there are other things. since dwight eisenhower, no party held the white house for more than eight years except once and that was the four years of george bush after ronald reagan. we seemed to build up a pressure in this country to change our presidentys on a cyclical basis. so if that cyclical theory ha any value it built up extra strong after 12 years. >> rose: some people say this was a third term of ronald reagan. >> iin a way, it was. ronald reagan and george bush really worked in tandem to bring
about major changes. george bush recognized ronald reagan's build up of our national security system, the defense structure, the peace through strength component of policy had created the opportunity to deal with the soviet union. he saw a soviet union that recognized it could not keep up with the u.s. and that's where his personal, artful diplomacy made a big difference. >> rose: but that was his natural place, wasn't it, because he had been on board at china, ambassador to the united nations. >> that's why i call indispensable presidency. he was the right man at the right time to take full advantage of the opportunity created by the reagan buildup, gorbachev's presence, and a group of leaders in europe that he was able to work with. and tissues were not simple. one of the big issues in that whole process was reunification of germany. >> rose: big, big.
margaret thatcher and france, their countries had been devastated by germany twice in 50 years, and bush was able to work with them and create a partnership. cole was part of it, too. but getting thatcher and mideran on board required a president who was able to gain respect and trust by those world class, world leaders, and he was able to do that. >> rose: george w. bush's recent book, as you know, expressed the confusion of the time is why bush, sr. did not ask you for your resignation. >> i think his description of that time and my description in my book are the same. i went to washington knowing that the half-life of a chief of staff was about eight or nine months, so it was the end of the third year. the press was really giving me a hard time. i had a conversation with george
w., had conversations with andy card, and i thought if i left at that time the lightning would follow me, and went home over thanksgiving, thought about our discussions, came back monday and told the president -- >> rose: but you can say to us it was your decision? >> it was my decision in the context of a lot of conversations that -- in which we all mutually agreed there were problems for the president. >> rose: you being chief of staff. >> me being chief of staff. >> rose: what were they? at that time the press was going after me on travel issues, even though i was traveling under the directive of aptle --a presidential order reagan put in place that said the chief of staff tore the national security advisor are prohibited from flying commercial. so even though we were flying under the rules that were a mandate, it became a political issue. >> rose: and, so -- i stepped down. but i retained a great
friendship with a great president. >> rose: and, so, when he looks back, what do you think he regrets the most other than not getting four more years? >> you know, in an odd way, the way things have turned out, i don't think he regrets much because, if he had gotten four more years, there may not have been the presidency of george w. bush or the governorship of jeb bush or so on. so he's a great believer that things work out in the long run. so i would say that, at this moment as he looks back, he may have liked to have won, but i don't think he looks with regret at the way things worked out. >> rose: reminds me of churchill in '46, someone said blessing in disdwiez and churchill said hell of a disguise. (laughter) >> remember, winston churchill was the heart and soul against
english deagainst against nazi germany. >> rose: and gave voice to the entire effort. >> and everyone acknowledged it was his victory. yet before the end of the car there is an election and churchill is thrown out. and look what happens with bush, he nurtures the collapse of the soviet union, kicks saddam out of kuwait, he loses, mrs. thatcher is crunched by her party. mideron loses, coal loses, the japanese and australian prime ministers lose. there is an exhaling on the part of the electorate when a dramatic shift occurs in traumatic intersectional affairs and they look to another party. >> rose: it's hard to know where george bush begins and jim baker begins. >> jim baker was a great friend of the president, a very smart
lawyer who understood the workings of politics, great political figure. >> rose: everything. he met george bush on the tennis courts. and they were inseparable, in my opinion, in this whole process. baker was part of the trio on foreign policy. they worked amazingly close. we had a very close white house. i think that was catalyzed by the president. >> rose: at a time that george bush was running for reelection, many people thought eric cuomo would be the democratic nominee -- >> they actually thought that more -- yes, in '92, that's correct, right. >> rose: running for reelection. >> right, i'm sorry. i thought you said election. reelection. >> rose: reelection. he said i'm not going to run, went to new hampshire and went to his legislature which he said
was the reason he was not running. bill clinton won. it is said and you say that you thought bill clinton would be a tougher opponent than cuomo because he had a fire in the belly. >> i've known blintsen for a long time. we were governors together. he was chairman, i was vice chairman. bill clinton is a consummate politician, a good politician. >> rose: he's a friend of the bush family. >> he is. he's a friend of mine and a good policy wonk, and he understands issues. i think the country should be grateful to him for having sustained the battle on getting welfare reform. i think that's one of the great achievements that this country had and it probably need another cycle of that now. so clinton wanted to be president and it was clear to me
he was going to take no prisoners if there was a hard primary. >> rose: the book is called "the quiet man, indispensable presidency of george h. w. bush" by former chief of staff, john sununu, former governor of new hampshire. thank you. >> thanks for having me, charlie. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: colin quinn is here, he is a standup comedian, actor, writer, best known for former role as the weekend update anchor on saturday night live, now starring in his fifth one mann show, the new york story at the cherry theater, which addresses new york and race. it is based on this new book, the coloring book, a comedian solves rails relations in america. chris rock says after reading it you realize colin quinn is the white richard pryor. it does not get any better than that. i am pleased to have colin quinn at the table for the first time. doesn't get better than that, does it? the white richard pryor.
>> no, it does. richard pryor is the ultimate. >> rose: i talk to comedians all the time about not so much how to be funny but the history of comedy and they all pay a special regard and homage to pryor. >> pryor and carlin were the two things when i was growing up. >> rose: pryor and george carlin. >> yeah. >> rose: pryor why? because pryor could do a kkk guy and, when he was doing the character, would make him a human being. everybody had humanity when he would be doing characters. and colin, just because he was so precise, so trying to figure out how the language was affecting the world. >> rose: was he in any way in an ancestral true line that included lenny bruce? >> both were.
lenny bruce allowed them to become who they became, you know. >> rose: who did you set out to become other than yourself? >> i mean, those guys were my earliest influences. definitely pryor and carlin. chris rock and me, we -- >> rose: started together. yeah, we started together and both used to write our notes. but those were the references to us. >> rose: at the same time? no, when we started in the '80s, comedy. open mic guys. >> rose: i did a "60 minutes" piece about larry david who was sort of never quite what he wanted to be as a standup. >> right. i knew him as a standup. >> rose: and would go, evidently, to clubs and walk off. >> yes, he would walk off. >> rose: and then he would say, i'm not doing this. >> his litmus test sometimes for the audience was he'd go, um, may i use the two form with you people because i feel
comfortable with that, and if they didn't laugh -- >> rose: yeah, how did you evolve into one-man shows? >> well, standup is great but the fact people keep ordering drinks, changes the dynamic. the tables are facing each other. here's the stage. so you're facing over here. so there's a whole different physical dynamic telling you paya teúsion to the comedian but also to the food and drinks and each other. and sometimes it can be a bit much. the early shows can be the best thing. a great comedy club night is the best in the world, but -- and once they got rid of smoking, the illusion of the smoke-filled room was gone anyway. >> rose: nevertheless, people who go on to other things still look to standup as something very special and often want to go back. >> they all go back to it. everybody goes back to it now.
everybody who left goes back with very few exceptions. >> to refurbish or replenish their own sense of the cutting ellen of it? >> but because i feel like you can't gain more knowledge. like the problem, let's say movies. movies, living in the echo chamber. they keep writing and say what happened to the movie? what happened is you're not in touch, we're not in touch at a certain level. but you go back to the comedy crowd, they're looking at you, they're not going to laugh so you better get in touch. the audience is such a part of the process in a way no comedian has ever figured out how to sit down, write their whole act and perform and get laughs. you need the crowd for feedback the whole time. >> rose: the only way you can do that is through hard knocks. >> going out there. it gives you some humility, too. because you're, like, i'm not a genius, i have to work it out, and the crowd is right sometimes. not all the time.
i give them 50%. >> rose: to be wrong, what, something's funny and they don't get it? >> sometimes you're not phrasing it right or they're distract bid some other nonsense going on. every comedian will tell you the story of being in the middle of a great set and you're getting the whole crowd laughing and suddenly, happy birthday, and some other table has a lit cake on the table and they're singing happy birthday in the middle of the room, and if you turn on them, they're, like, it's a birthday. >> rose: does it have the same property as in its hay day. >> it's the golden age of standup, in many ways. >> rose: is it, really? yeah. and i use that expression no one is going to throw up but me saying golden age of tannedup. but it is. >> rose: but where is it happening? >> a lot online, a lot clubs.
they have alternative, regular comedy and all kind of different scenes. >> rose: do you find out what you're good at by saying i'm good at standup but not sketch or vice versa. is there a gene there? >> it's different. standup -- sketch is more character. like you're talking to each other where standup you're talking to a live crowd. >> rose: what about what you do now? >> standup. >> rose: standup, talking. definitely standup because i can go do it. it's not just in one theater. sometimes there will be no set. sometimes they won't have a body mic, sometimes a regular mic on the road, and i can do it still, so it's technically standup. >> rose: what is it that people who have not done it don't get about doing it? in other words, i'm really interested -- a lot of people think they can do things. oh, i could do that if i had good writers, i could do that if i really worked hard to create
jokes, i'm a funny guy, but they're not. >> right. >> rose: what is it that those that succeed have? is it timing? is it something else? >> i feel like there is a few things, but one of the main things is you have to have the humility to know you're not a genius and you're going to bomb in front of that crowd. you can't be somebody who just -- because, you know, it's real -- it tests your ego, that part of you that's, like, the first time i got up i was, like, it's going to be great, and then you bomb and keep bombing and even to this day, i'll go up with something i swear is great and i say it and it just bombs. you almost have to be a writer, a rewriter. so you have to go up and go, oh -- >> rose: almost like an editor. >> right, and the crowd helps you edit. >> rose: but the idea is to write an hour of comedy, you must have three hours of comedy to whittle down, don't you? >> sure. but it's really an interesting -- i'll give you an example of a -- a perfect example of a joke.
it's about how my friend doesn't get sarcasm. i come out of the gym and i say, i'm ready to fight mike tyson and he said, yeah, he'll kick your as. why doesn't that get a laugh? but then i started adding myself -- and i realized to the audience you need the catharsis. you have to represent them. they're dealing with somebody who doesn't get sarcasm, so people want to hear, like, what do you say back? so after 20 years in the business, i didn't know that, until i was doing it, and all of a sudden it started working. you find little fun things about humanity. >> rose: how long did it take you to get it? to get so it that you knew you could write stuff that an audience would like? was ate year, five years? was it -- >> ten years. for me it was ten years.
some people it differs. i would say ten years before i could consistently write where i had a hiring percentage. >> rose: and is the writing more important than the delivery. >> i think it's really important, but there is a lot of great writers -- there is a lot of great comics that nobody ever heard of that don't have a delivery. whatever it is, they do the hard part. they're great joke tellers. but they're keeping a wall up in some way, when they perform. they did the hardest part, writing and going in front of a crowd, but somehow they keep up just a little bit of a wall instead of opening up. >> rose: some vulnerability is part of it, too. >> what's that? >> rose: vulnerability. vulnerability and just the understanding like there is nothing -- there is no point you're trying to hide now. >> rose: there's nothing between the two of us. >> yeah. >> rose: you're watching me deliver comedy, you're testing me. >> right. >> rose: you're saying to me, laugh at what i say, i'm funny.
>> exactly. >> rose: we're going to find out together. >> exactly, yeah. and that's part of the thing, and possibly a bombing, which i never thought that was part of it until one time i was on s.n.l. and he said, that's part of the whole thing, the risk you might bomb keeps people laughing. i thought, that's part of the energy in the room is i'm saying i'm funny. >> rose: they don't give up on you if you bomb. >> no, i think the worst thing an audience could be is if they feel sorry for you. they can hate you and you can get them back, but the they feel sorry for you, you're dead. >> rose: almost like ridicule. almost like they're disgusted by the weakness because they feel it. >> rose: why did you turn to this kind of thing? >> well, i mean -- >> rose: is it storytelling, would be my question. >> some of it's story-telling, some of it's standup. i couldn't even write this until i started doing it as standup, because i was so spoiled from being a standup that i'm used to
reaction. >> rose: but it's a one-man show. >> even one-man show, until i perform, i couldn't write the book because i'm spoiled to getting reactions to what i say. so when you're writing a book, you're writing chapters, that was good, i want to hear this every night from different people. >> rose: tell me about the ho imaginhomage to new york. >> i group up here and, obviously, it was a hell hole but there was something in the personalities i missnood something no longer here? >> looking through rose-colored glasses. >> rose: what is that? what you say in the act? >> yeah, and this is an open city for people to be authentically -- like, to be able to speak. like, now, i feel like we're great ago society of, like, rehearsed kind of platitude and,
you know, just people speaking in these general, you know, languages. i say in the show it's fine for the west coast, that's how they should b but new york -- down south, they say people are polite, new york isn't supposed to do that. we become an internet line and you speak of overwhelming positivity and new york was supposed to be a place for positivity. >> rose: it was not. it was california, the old joke. >> rose: it was the new york attitude. >> the new york at tied. that's why i discussed in the book, how it came about to be the new york personality from terrelliest days. >> rose: what would you like to do that you're not doing? >> i'd like to get very rich. years ago, i remember saying to myself i hope -- because the girl i worked with at mtv had to get a job in a store while she was on m. and i was like i hope i'm never more famous than rich. i curse myself. my whole life i have been more
famous than rich. >> rose: how do we turn that around? >> it's your destiny. it's meant to be. >> rose: do you go out and watch other comedians? >> sure. i watch them on youtube now. you learn from every comedian. first of all, you learn you better keep writing because these guys don't play games. it's so funny. you think jokes, at this point there are so many comedians, it all has to be said. there is new stuff and you say i never thought about that. it's great. eth not just about technology changes, it's about human nature. >> rose: tell me about train wreck. >> train wreck. >> rose: your character in doing in movie. >> amy wrote this aut movie abot her life. a very personal movie. one part was her father who has m.s. and he was a wild man, got m.s. and then was in a wheelchair and has been in a wheelchair since he was 42 and he's 62, 63.
she says, can you read my father's part for the reading? i read her father's part. i don't want to play her father. you know what i mean? >> rose: yes, i do. so i do the reading and i know i'm in trouble because her and her sister are like, ah -- i hear little sarcasm. i'm not an actor. so she says, i want you to treed the part. i said, get somebody else. she says, you don't think you're old enough to play my father? yes, you are. >> rose: is that what she said? >> the great thing about amy is she's a good actor and she looks at you and says, i want you to come to the play, the screen test. it's like 1930. so i go to judd at the screen
test, he thinks i'm too young for the part, too. so i'm trying to tell him without her hearing, like, hearings, judd, i'm too young. he thinks i'm trying to say you think i'm too young for the part but i really want it, he says, no, you can do it. and amy is right there is that there's a great routine. >> i'm telling him one thing, he's hearing another. i go to the read. when you don't care about something you're great. it emanates. if i had been wanted it -- >> rose: all the restraints are there. >> then when i met her father, i'm so happy i played it. >> rose: when you met her father -- >> he's a wild guy, stuck in this old age home. he's the youngest one there. and he's got m.s.
but you could tell. charms all the nurses. his energy is -- >> rose: you can tell where she came from. >> he's realistic. he's brutally honest. >> rose: the coloring book is the book. thank you. >> thank you so much. pleasure. >> rose: thanks. thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. >> surprise move. china devalues its currency causing concerns in markets around the globe that the world's second largest economy is in worse shape than many think. old crime, new twist. the world of hacking is entering a new front and it exposes a vulnerability within the financial world. little known benefit. why thousands of young children qualify to collect their own social security checks. all that and more tonight on "nightly business report" for this tuesday, august the 11th. and good evening, everybody. i'm bill griffeth in tonight for tyler mathisen. >> i'm sue herera. if china was looking to jolt the global markets, it certain