Last night, Larry King Live aired for the final time on CNN after 25 years and over 6,000 shows. Though the 77 year old and Bill Maher, who along with Ryan Seacrest officiated the episode, insisted that this “was not a funeral,” it kind of felt like one. Katie Couric read a poem (or eulogy?); Regis Philbin led us in a Sinatra song (a hymn?), The Best is Yet to Come; and major political leaders appeared (President Bill Clinton, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger), presiding over his departure as though he were a former head of state. Since Mr. King was born in Brooklyn and raised in a Jewishly observant family, it is only fitting for fans to sit pop culture shiva* for him.
What exactly does sitting pop culture shiva entail? Well, the first part is obvious – sitting. Since most pop culture products are consumed with as little movement as possible this step should be simple for most King’s viewers. Stay comfortable and right where you are. Watch more television or clips of the show on YouTube.
Then comes the food. Now, the neighbors probably won’t bring over assorted goodies since no actual death occurred. You’ll have to take care of this on your own. In order to not disturb the first step, make sure to get the food delivered.
Next comes the renting of the garments. I would advise against this since you are probably wearing your best sweats. Instead, sartorially honor the man by putting on a pair of suspenders to complete the look. Now don’t fret that this accessory will make you appear unattractive to the ladies. Larry wore them for most of his professional career and been married a total of 8 times to 7 different women.
And finally, cover all reflective surfaces. During a traditional shiva, this is meant to discourage vanity and encourage inner reflection, and it’s no different in this instance. After a week spent in sweats, ordering takeout, and wearing suspenders, you probably don’t want to look into the mirror.
Follow these steps and you’ll weather this loss just fine. And when you return to society, you’ll find that the King has actually risen. Yes, he will be hosting specials on CNN at least four times a year.
*The phrase “pop culture shiva” is the brilliant idea of Elizabeth Savage.
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Dvora Meyers is a journalist and author based in Brooklyn.