American talk show host
- I don't think you could say now that ABC is crasser than the other two networks. But as long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it. It becomes an ever-descending spiral.
- It's a wonderful job for people who have never had a nervous breakdown but always wanted one.
- On hosting a talk show, "Playboy Interview: Dick Cavett", Playboy (March 1971) vol. 18, no. 3, p. 72
- Why don't you fold it five ways and put it where the moon don't shine.
- There's so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?
- Mocking the TV-violence debate, as quoted in Life, Vol. 18 (1995), p. 8
- You can, after all, reduce the reasons for watching TV to but two: to be lulled, and to be stimulated. Some people do one sometimes, the other sometimes. Some people do all of one or all of the other.
- You can piss away valuable hours of your life reading Ayn Rand—her wretched appeal to the young, her wretched writing, her wretched person.
She was supposed to be on my show; I was kind of sorry she wasn’t, because I was kind of laying for her. I did not succumb, as a kid, to being enthused by Ayn Rand, and that sense of power, as every kid was at one time until they outgrew it. The old bag sent over a list of fifteen conditions for appearing with me, or for appearing with anyone, I guess. One of them was, “There will be no disagreeing with Ms. Rand’s philosophy.” […] I wrote at the bottom of the list, to be sent back to her, “There will be no Ms. Rand, either.”
- The playwright George S. Kaufman remembered what he called the “greatest ‘line reversal’ of my lifetime.” He liked to drop in on Broadway shows he had directed to, as he put it, “just check on them and take out the ‘improvements.’ ” He was eternally grateful to have caught one performance when he heard an actor commit the gem. It ran: “Her breath would take your beauty away.” He kept the line framed on his desk ever afterward.