After starting out as a copyboy at TIME magazine, Dick reading about Jack Paar's search for some new material, wrote some jokes and put them into a TIME envelope heading out to the RCA building to deliver the envelope, Dick sat in the studio audience and sure enough Paar used some of the jokes he had written. Talking to Paar who then had him hired as talent coordinator within weeks of their first meeting.
After Jack Paar left The Tonight Show, and Johnny Carson took over hosting duties, Dick continued as writer of the show. Lured away for three times as much money, Cavett became writer of The Jerry Lewis Show which was ill-fated from the start and lasted only a short time. After that failure Dick returned once more to The Tonight Show.
By the end of the sixties after having written for The Merv Griffin Talk Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, Dick finally got his own talk show which ran on several different networks.
He often featured controversial people and topics which weren't the norm for the variety talk shows that were airing at the time. Subjects which were well-avoided by lesser braver souls seemed to interest and revive Dick Cavett's career.