Bruce Fretts
April 04, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

Craig Kilborn is having a bad day. The caustic host of Comedy Central’s ”newscast” The Daily Show woke up feeling sick — and now he’s locked himself out of his Manhattan apartment. A helpful neighbor jimmies the door, and Kilborn enters his bachelor pad, proudly showing off a new Oriental carpet. Settling into an antique chair, the 32-year-old, Minnesota-born college roundball player and former ESPN anchor still looks a bit ill. ”I may have to excuse myself,” Kilborn warns. ”I don’t want to get anything on the rug.” Yet as soon as the questions start flying, he perks up, flashing the wit that cuts through hypocrisy like a hot knife through butter on TDS:

1. Politically Incorrect went to ABC. MST3K went to Sci-Fi Channel. Where do you see TDS going?

BET. I pride myself on my following in the black community. The first album I ever owned was Best of the Stylistics.

2. You’re both tall, blond ex-sports guys. What’s the difference between you and John Tesh?

He and Connie Sellecca were celibate before they married. I don’t play that game.

3. Can white men jump?

Most white men can’t jump, and we won’t get into the reasons why.

4. Who’s a better dancer, Al Gore or Boris Yeltsin?

Boris. Al Gore’s too wooden. We can make fun of Bo-bo all day, but he moves.

5. Why do so many talk-show hosts come from the Midwest?

Because it’s the backbone of our country. We’re down-to-earth, good people.

6. What cartoon character do you most resemble?

Tweety. We both have fair skin, light color, and soft features. But I’m not that diminutive.

7. What’s the secret to good hair?

Chemicals, whether it be mousse, gel, or hair spray. I don’t think I have good hair. Growing up, people pointed and threw things at my cowlick, but I’ve learned to live with it.

8. You end each installment of TDS with a ”Moment of Zen.” Are you a student of Zen?

No. The only thing I know about Zen is that Bulls coach Phil Jackson wrote a book about it, and I had no desire to read it.

9. Who was more fun to interview — Wink Martindale or Phyllis Diller?

Wink is more attractive, but Phyllis is a legend. I enjoyed talking with her, although afterward it took us a while to get her to leave.

10. You tape in MacNeil/Lehrer‘s old studio. Do you feel their spirit?

I did once, but it went away. We have an obligation, in a way, to uphold their journalistic standard — until the show starts. Then all hell breaks loose.

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