Master of the Adversary Interview, The

Tom Snyder, the host of the late night talk show TOMORROW/NBC/1973-82 was called “The Master of the Adversary Interview” because of his prosecuting techniques used when interviewing his guests.


Despite being called arrogant, belligerent, intimidating and opinionated, by 1976 over 6 million Americans regularly stayed up to watch Tom Snyder interview the biggest names of the day and host topics and guests dealing with suicide, witchcraft, prostitution, a face-to-face meeting with convicted mass murderer Charles Manson direct from his prison cell and a broadcast from a California nudist colony.


In the 1970s, Dan Aykroyd of NBC’s weekend comedy program SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE spoofed Snyder’s manic laugh and brusque interviewing style, which always included Tom holding a cigarette. Later, another SNL member, Joe Piscopo had fun parodying Tom Snyder’s rapid fire interviewing technique.

Tom Snyder later hosted a more laid back interview program THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH TOM SNYDER/CBS/1995-99 that featured an 800 telephone number for listeners to call in and ask questions of Snyder’s guests.

“I learned a long time ago that if you bet on yourself, you win. If you bet on others, you lose.”

Born on May 12, 1936 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tom Snyder died from chronic lymphocytic leukemia on July 29, 2007 in San Francisco, California. He was 71.

Note: At the conclusion of his opening monologue (as he went to commercial) on the talk show THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH TOM SNYDER/CBS/1995-99, host Tom Snyder would say, “Settle back, fire up the colortinies and watch the pictures as they fly through the air” He later modified his catchphrase to “Thanks for catching our pictures as we fly them through the air.”

One night in December 1998, after Tom Snyder did some jokes about condoms, a viewer sent in his own product endorsement for a condom brand called “Late Night Condom.” Its ad slogan: “Thanks for catching our stuff as it flies through the air.”

In his early days on EYE WITNESS NEWS, Tom closed his segments, by saying, “And remember there’s nothing wrong with your set. ”

See also “Tom Snyder Interview with Charles Manson @ You Tube”


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Showbiz Nicknames

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