TV interviewing legend Larry King gets a Friars tribute Monday night at the Sheraton.
In anticipation of that glittery gala, I turned the tables and gave Larry a grilling.
Here’s Part Two of our chat.
Me: Hey, Larry. You’re doing TV specials these days. What else?
Larry: I’ve spoken in Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Moscow, Lisbon, Seoul, Mexico City, and I’m going right after Thanksgiving to Kiev. They know me there! I expect to be doing more TV and radio. I can’t stay retired. I do get to see my kids’ Little League games. The toughest part of not doing a show is when there’s a big story — like the Joe Paterno story. Or when Osama bin Laden was killed. I don’t miss the Kardashians. That’s not a loss.
Me: One of the legendary moments on your show was you asking Paris Hilton what her favorite part of the Bible is.
Larry: What did she tell me? That she liked the whole thing! [Laughs.]
Me: Especially Sodom and Gomorrah.
Larry: Liked Sodom, hated Gomorrah. [Laughs.]
Me: When you had Brittany Murphy’s mother and husband on to spin her death, I didn’t really believe what they were saying. Did you?
Larry: I didn’t know what to think. I guess you’re right. That was another story that I personally don’t like. They’re part of the nomenclature, they’re part of what social media is today, but as a host, I much prefer the stories that have real meaning in people’s lives. The Joe Paterno story is a classic example — that’s a story way beyond football. It’s a great story of trust.
Me: You know him and think he’s pretty much a great guy. Was he culpable?
Larry: Culpable in that he should have called the police. Why he didn’t call the police — we all have to examine ourselves. Let’s say you’re the executive editor of The Village Voice and a reporter has worked for you for 40 years, he’s your best reporter, he’s won five Pulitzers, and you find out that his chief researcher who’s been with him for 30 years has molested children. This was reported by someone who saw the act of molestation. Do you call the police or your publisher?
Me: The police. [Pause.] And the publisher. You’d have to tell both.
Larry: Yes, keeping knowledge of a crime is a crime. I’ve been interviewing people for 54 years. The one answer we’ve never come up with is … child molester. Why do they do that? Why do people molest children either of their own sex or opposite sex?
Me: Partly it has to do with attacking vulnerable, powerless people. [Pause.] On a much lighter note, I can’t wait for your event Monday. By the way, I loved when you used to have Tammy Faye Baker on your show.
Larry: I loved her. She was a wonderful innocent and not-so-innocent innocent. The night before she died was one of the hardest shows. It was hard to look at her. You knew she was gonna die the following morning. She was never dull. There was something about her that was so likable.
Me: You, too! Congrats on your tribute.