Book Report: Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night

While reading Jason Zinoman’s book, Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night . I was reminded of many moments that I got to watch over the years. You see, I was, and remain, a huge fan of David Letterman.

While I stopped actively watching TV in 2000 (I got married and we decided to not get cable) I still followed the Letterman and his show online. I remember sneaking down the stairs every night just before 12:30am to watch his 3 joke opening monologue, Stupid Pet Tricks, calling familiar strangers on the phone, drop stuff off the building and interview Richard Simmons for the hundredth time. I had both of his Top Ten List books and a framed Time magazine cover on my bedroom wall. I even once had tickets to go see his Late Night show in New York City. I wished I actually asked my parents to help me get there. Sigh. And even after I got married I still had his photo in my wallet. Yes. I was a huge.

However, some parts of the book upset me a bit. For example, I always thought the character of David Letterman that I saw on TV was just that. A character. Yet, Zinoman writes that that was actually the real Letterman. I struggle with the notion that Letterman was never satisfied with his show/success or was really angry underneath it all.

Letterman now has his popular Netflix show, My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. Thank goodness I don’t need TV to watch!

Thanks Jason for writing this book. And thanks Dave for continuing to make us laugh.

Episode #107: Marc Weisblott

Marc Weisblott of Toronto’s 12:36 newsletter stops by Pacific Junction Hotel’s Girth Radio again.

We talk Facebook, Jordan Peterson, Rick Mehta, King Street shenanigans and…RELIGION!

Recorded live at Girth Radio.

Listen below:

Girth Radio
Apple Podcasts
Google Play Music
Pocket Casts
You can also subscribe to the podcast via RSS Feed if you’re so inclined.

Music in 2017

2017 was a fun year for me for attending concerts.  As you know I’m not much for words so here’s a quick re-cap:

The first concert of the year was The Sadies opening for Blue Rodeo at Oshawa’s Tribute Communities Centre. It’s a nice little venue that we’d visit again later in the year.

The last show of 2017 was Teen Ravine opening for July Talk.

This was our second time seeing July Talk. We saw them earlier in 2017 at Budweiser Stage during the summer in support of Arkells.

Also on that ticket was Said The Whale and Mondo Cozmo. Kahzmir and I saw Said The Whale again in Scarborough. Along with less than a couple dozen others braving a summer shower.

The smallest venue we visited was a couple of local community centres in Scarborough as part of SoFar Toronto (Scarborough). We saw a bunch of acts over 3 different concerts including the Saxaphone Brothers and Renee The Voice.

Sofar Toronto #music #weekend #indie #sofarscarborough #sofar #sofartoronto

A post shared by Karim Kanji (@karimkanji) on

The largest venue was the SkyDome (aka Rogers Centre) were we saw the Lumineers open for U2’s The Joshua Tree tour.

Sunday Bloody Sunday #joshuatreetour2017 #Toronto

A post shared by Karim Kanji (@karimkanji) on

Favourite venue was the Horseshoe Tavern. Finally saw a show  there. The James Clark Institute opened for Pursuit Of Happiness. Yes, I’m an adult now!

I went to NYC in September 2017. Besides seeing almost every taping of the New York late night talk shows I also visited the legendary Apollo theatre in Harlem. And this was during the famous Amateur Night where we witnessed more almost a dozen musical acts including the famous house band.

We also saw some classic acts such as Pink Floyd’s Rogers Waters and the return of Guns N’ Roses!

Throughout the year we also saw Neil Haden perform at least three times. Twice with his band, Two Left Feet and once at his Uncle Neil and Friends Christmas Toy Concert.

The Bach Children’s Chorus and Youth Choir also played multiple times during 2017. We saw them three times last year. It’s especially fun when our son, Kahzmir, is part of two of these performances every year!

2017 also introduced us to Kc Roberts and the Live Revolution (a fusion of jazz/funk/rock), A-Track and Chromeo (both DJs in the EDM space – I think!)

One of the last shows of 2017 (although not the last!) was Canadian Music Hall of Fame band Barenaked Ladies with support from one of Canada’s finest songwriter’s, Ron Sexsmith!

Finally. We’re at my favourite shows of 2017. It’s a virtual tie. But there always has to be a winner.

So, in second place was:

Opening Act: Broken Social Scene (I was so happy to finally see this band live after many near misses!)

Headlining: Arcade Fire. No matter what the critics think of their latest album(s) the power group from Montreal (via Haiti and USA) knows how to put on a show with their collection of rock anthems.

The winning combo…

Opening Act: Matt Mays

Headlining: Arkells. We saw Arkells for the second time in Oshawa. The venue was smaller than when we saw them in summer. Arkells is rock and roll. They have anthems, pop songs and love songs. They are tight but play with the enthusiasm and joy of teens. This was the most fun I’ve had at a concert all year. These guys are the real deal. And while they’ve arrived they will only get bigger and better. If you can, see Arkells.

Radio is harder than Podcasts

In 2016 I was invited to participate on Newstalk 1010’s (CFRB in Toronto) morning roundtable segments with John Moore. Although I was only a fill in, I managed to make a half dozen or so appearances. These segments are 15 minutes long and are rapid-fire conversations.

I came away with one conclusion: Radio is hard. Much harder than doing my podcast. At least these types of segments are. Let me take you a little bit behind the curtain of talk radio:

We are asked to arrive 10/15 minutes before the segment is to begin. At that time the producer of the program will usually hand us a one-pager with the topics the host wants to discuss. Usually, there are a half dozen topics or so. After reading the topics at hand any maybe going online to catch up on them we are ushered into the studio to begin the segment.

I never know if the host is going to ask me a question or keeps things open ended. My first experience was frightening for me. The 15 minutes went by in a flash. And I left with my heart racing a million miles an hour!

I realized that the reason I was feeling this way is because I am forced to be quick on my feet, know what I’m talking about and be able to articulate myself in as few words as possible while also sounding smart. And for me, that’s next to impossible.

In my own studio, on my terms, I like to take things slow. That’s why I love podcasting. I may have themes, ideas or questions in my head or written down. However, I’m in no hurry to go to commercial or get to the next guest or segment. I can take my time actually having a discussion with the person in front of me. And I get to listen more than talk.

However, I am all about learning. I’m excited to get back in the Newstalk studio to develop and grow.


Episode #105: Faizal Khamisa

Sportsnet anchor, host and broadcaster Faizal Khamisa joined me in studio to kick off the 2018 season of Welcome! And what a story Faisal has. At age 16 he was diagnosed with cancer. At 29 he’s had his hip and shoulder operated on and has generally gone through more challenges than many people his age. But first, we discuss the hottest team in Toronto: The Toronto Raptors.

Recorded live at Girth Radio.

Listen below:

Girth Radio
Apple Podcasts
Google Play Music
Pocket Casts
You can also subscribe to the podcast via RSS Feed if you’re so inclined.

Top Ten Welcome! Episodes of 2017

I’m currently reading Jason Zinoman’s Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night. So, in the spirit of Letterman’s Top Ten List here are my top episodes of 2017 (based on listens):

1.) When he made his appearance on Welcome!, Jagmeet Singh was still an NDP MPP in Ontario and had not yet decided on running for the leadership of the NDP federal party. Soon after his appearance, well, as they say, the rest is history.

2.) In early 2017, I had Mathew Ingram on. Part of our conversation centered around Donald Trump’s impact on the current media landscape which continues to change.

3.) More than a year ago (in 2016) Morgan P. Campbell made his first of two appearances. We discussed racism in sports (specifically baseball), football and the issue of concussions, and even steroids in professional and amateur sports.

4.) Sulemaan Ahmed is one of the parents behind the #NoFLyListKids initiative that (crazy as it sounds) still continues today.

5.) Twitter remains my personal favourite social media platform. And it was a pleasure to have Cameron Gordon, Twitter Canada’s Head of Communication on.

6.) One of the first female veejay’s on Much Music was Erica Ehm. She’s also a successful entrepreneur.

7.) Salim Naran and I used to run together while in primary school. I’m so proud to see all the success he has had over the years.

8.) In this episode with Jay Soul (aka CHIPPEWAR) we talk about cultural appropriation, truth and reconciliation, missing and murdered Indigenous women and children, how residential schools is still happening today, the problem with Canada 150 and so much more!

9.) Mark Evans is a consultant helping fast growing companies grow faster. In this episode we talked about startups, technology, journalism and urban planning.

10.) Brett Wilson is a former Dragon on CBC’s popular Dragon’s Den, head of Prairie Merchant Corporation and part owner of the NHL’s Nashville Predators.

Check Your Blood Pressure

For as long as I remember it seems I’ve had high blood pressure. It’s a combination of being overweight, a diet high in salt and of being brown.

I currently now take two pills every day to help control my blood pressure. It’s currently at a “healthy”  127/86. But it’s been much higher.

High blood pressure is ranked as the third most important risk factor for attributable burden of disease in south Asia (2010). That’s what I mean by being brown. And it doesn’t help that my dad has high blood pressure and has already suffered a heart attack.

I’m hoping to lose weight this year and boost my heart health. To do so, I’ll be attempting to log into My Fitness Pal everyday to log my calorie intake and my fitness activities. I use the words “hoping” and “attempting” purposefully because everyday can be a challenge and a struggle.

If you’re not aware of your blood pressure drop into your local pharmacy (Shoppers Drug Mart here in Toronto) and have it checked for free. You should also visit your family doctor at least once a year for a check up.

Image credit: Indian Express