Like alot of people, I used to revere Late Night with David Letterman. It was the most awesome, disruptive, funny, silly, authority-challenging and downright humble TV show we had ever seen.
There were literally no rules, and Letterman himself carried this air about him that said: “Can you BELIEVE they are letting me do a TV show!?”
So why did I stop watching altogether long ago?
Because Dave changed. He became nakedly partisan and increasingly bitter. This is not even an argument.
As a conservative, a media personality myself, and someone not afraid to share my views at times (including here, of course) I am keenly aware that probably half of my listeners and fans do not share my political views.
So I try to tread lightly when it comes to what is my primary entertainment product, my daily radio show(s). I won’t back down from what I think, but I will try to be at least detail-minded and focused when I decide to speak out about something.
Letterman did the opposite. He was, in short, a hack. His interviews of Democrat politicians were fawning to the point of embarrassment. Any similar interviews of Republicans (if they happened at all) were far more chilly and distant. The cheap-shottery in his monologue jokes were transparent.
Then there was the bitterness. I get it that he felt jilted by losing the Tonight Show to Jay Leno. But for GOD’S SAKE man, you broke the bank when CBS came calling! And they refurbished your dream venue in New York City, the legendary Ed Sullivan theater! And you were beating Leno head-to-head for the first two years, before CBS lost the rights to the NFL and their prime-time lineup went to rot.
What a life! Let it go, man!
Even hard core Letterman fans until last night’s end, admit that he’s been coasting for nearly a decade. The willingness to push boundaries, to mine humor from the hardest to reach places, all just sorta faded away.
It was a helluva run though, and his earliest stuff was well worth digging up on YouTube. It was compelling, game-changing stuff in the late-night TV game. It was not unlike footage of “Skinny Jordan” with hair lighting up the NBA in the mid-80’s.
So here’s a nod to Dave at his absolute best: when he would regularly call out his corporate bosses at GE as “pinheads” and they never failed to live down to that description.