Lou Avery, in the span of two episodes and maybe a total of 10 minutes of screentime on Mad Men, has quickly become the most hated character on television, which is actually a rather impressive feat. And Lou Avery is NOT the kind of character it’s fun to hate, like King Joffrey. No, we just hate the man because he’s a lazy, selfish dick. Even more than that, unlike many of the other unlikable characters on Mad Men over six seasons, Lou Avery is humorless, and that’s something we don’t forgive on television. The irony, of course, is that Avery is played by an actor with a great sense of humor. In fact, Allan Havey is a stand-up comedian who was once seriously considered as a replacement for David Letterman.
Allan Havey was a stand-up fixture on Letterman throughout the 1980s, and he was so good that he got the attention of HBO, who hired him to host a late-night talk-show on The Comedy Channel (with later merged with Ha! to become Comedy Central). Night After Night ran for THREE HOURS nightly and basically entailed watching Havey interview celebrities or having stream-of-consciousness conversations with his “audience of one” (consisting of a viewer whose name was selected from the show’s mailbag). It was very off-kilter, and unusual, and after three years, it was quietly cancelled.
Here’s a typical bit, on “Morons.”
He also had a very intimate, casual interviewing style, which you can see in this interview with Joel Hodgson, of MSTK 3000 fame:
Anyway, after its cancellation, Allan Havey was actually seriously considered by Lorne Michaels to replace David Letterman on Late Night after Letterman went to CBS, but Michaels ultimately decided to go with the untested Conan O’Brien. In another dimension, however, maybe Michaels chooses Havey, who would go on to host The Tonight Show, and maybe Conan O’Brien is playing television’s most despicable character now.
At any rate, Havey would go on to do bit roles in television and films while continuing to do stand-up, and some of you may actually recognize him from an episode of Louie.