A comedian's climb to late-night TV host can often be a rocky road. And these days, it can be Rocky Road, too.
Since it's summer and the day before a long holiday weekend, we at Ad Age decided to engage in some hard-hitting investigative journalism and taste test the flavors Unilever's Ben & Jerry brand has bestowed on two of the hosts who take over the boob-tube after 11 p.m. It got us thinking -- if Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert can be rendered into "Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream" (which consists of vanilla ice cream, with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl), and NBC's Jimmy Fallon can inspire "Late Night Snack," billed as "Vanilla Bean Ice Cream With a Salty Caramel Swirl & Fudge Covered Potato Chip Clusters," how would ice-cream purveyors transform the other wee-hours hosts of late-night TV? Already "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart has complained that he would like his own flavor, too.
Our ideas are below, but we'd welcome yours as well. Sprinkles, of course, cost extra.
Jon Stewart's News Hash
Who Would Sell It: Ben & Jerry 's
Ingredients: Good-for-you stuff like walnuts, raisins and granola mixed into double-fudge ice cream and swaddled in butterscotch.
Why: Mr. Stewart's "Daily Show" is often taken as an actual news program, even though its material is drenched in satire and yuks. There's something nutritious in there, but you won't taste it right away -- if at all.
David Letterman's Nutty SurpriseWho Would Sell It?: Dairy Queen
Ingredients: Cashews, bananas and pistachio ice cream, submerged in chocolate sauce
Why: Mr. Letterman has always mixed humor and something darker in equal measure. He's funny, but angry. He's clever, but acerbic. The 2009 disclosure of his extramarital affairs with show staffers tinged his image further. Mixing the crazy (nuts and bananas) with the suggestion of something deeper and more threatening (the chocolate) would form the ideal representation.
Conanamon SwirlWho Would Sell It?: Cold Stone Creamery
Ingredients: Cherry vanilla ice cream with a hint of cinnamon topped with whipped cream and red hots.
Why: Mr. O' Brien's sandy complexion is hard to miss, and his cerebral brand of humor these days comes tinged with something bitter. Conan, if you'd cut out the jokes about being stuck on basic cable, we'd swap out the red-hots for chocolate pieces.
Chelsea Handler's Booze CruiseWho Would Sell It: A revived Frusen Gladje, the now-defunct Haagen Dazs wannabe that reminds us of the 1980s
Ingredients: Chocolate-chip mint ice cream drowned in espresso-flavored chocolate sauce and four shots of peppermint-flavored vodka
Lots-O-LenoWho Would Sell It: Baskin-Robbins
Ingredients: Vanilla ice cream in a small cup with no mix-ins. After all, if you put the wrong candy or cookie in there, you'll turn off some part of the potential audience. Feel free to add a small hint of bourbon cooked too long over an open flame.
Why: Mr. Leno likes to appeal to the broadest possible crowd, so we can't add too much to the ice cream. But any mass-appeal product eventually burns itself out, hence the addition of overcooked alcohol.
Jimmy Kimmel's Cold-Pizza ConeWho Would Sell It: Sonic
Ingredients: No ice cream. Just a cold slice of pepperoni pizza stuffed into a medium sugar cone.
Why: Mr. Kimmel's erudite frat-boy shtick doesn't make us think of anything sweet, but rather of food we'd enjoy if we had five or six beers after midnight on a Wednesday.
Lopez Delight!Who Would Sell It: Whoever decided to pick up Conan's new flavor would try to sell one based on Mr. Lopez immediately afterward (after delicately breaking the news to Mr. Lopez that his flavor would be offered only after Mr. O' Brien's ice cream was suggested to customers).
Ingredients: One scoop of fried ice cream pushed delicately to the edge of the cone.
Why: See above.
[UPDATE: The taste test we conducted in Ad Age 's New York bureau found Colbert's Americone Dream superior to Fallon 's Late Night Snack, in large part because some tasters were divided over the use of potato chips in Late Night Snack, while everyone could get behind waffle cone bits in Americone Dream.]