The repartee is obviously scripted, but note how the script is a crisp comic gem--much preferable, if you ask me, to the inane, vapid chitchat that passes for TV talk these days. In the realm of Bob Hope, then America's king of one-liners, not even the few minutes between musical numbers should be left to idle blather. His back-and-forth with the Jackson brood is sharp and fast and funny (young Michael gets some of the best lines), and notable for poking fun even at himself:
BH: I can't get over you, guys. Television, concerts, records--you're always working!
J5: Well, you gotta make it while you can. The public is fickle and musical trends change so fast.
BH: I know. I heard of one group that became obsolete before they could get off the bus.
MJ: You're lucky you're a comedian, Mr. Hope. People seem to laugh at the same things for years.
BH: [Beat] That's all we need--a midget Don Rickles.
[Don Rickles--curmudgeonly comic and actor famous for his insults.]
The interlude lasts less than 3 minutes before the brothers launch into their hit song Dancing Machine, but is packed with great zingers like that. Watch.
I've looked closely--this isn't on YouTube yet, so let this be my own contribution to the ever-growing heap of MJ memorabilia online. So long, Michael!