Guys. Letterman retired. I have sad feelings. It’s been 4 days and I am just kind of coming to grips with this.
If you are one of the proud and triumphant that number amongst the 3 people who have ever read a blog post of mine (John, David and my mom) then you know that I deliver a heavy degree of self-deprecation, sarcasm and snark. I use those for a couple reasons. One, as a coping mechanism because of my giant head/face. The other is because David Letterman taught me to be this way. The first time I saw Dave I was blown away. I tuned in because he had Dinosaur Jr. on in 1991 when everyone else was having various New Kids or whatnot.
But it wasn’t Dinosaur Jr.’s rousing and energetic version of The Wagon that hooked me. It was the thrill that Dave got out of a lady he met named Kelly Robin Wilcoxen (“sounds like something a pirate would say!”) that got me. I just couldn’t believe that there was a show where the host could just hold on to something that weird and make it work the whole show.
Letterman was amazing. When he was on NBC he just decided to make a show that declared that show biz was ridiculous. Network execs were ridiculous. And he was going to just destroy the format. And he did. He did ridiculous things, not for the Jimmy Fallon reason that it’s gonna get more clicks and contribute to his self-involved “aw-shucksness.” He did it because it was making the larger point that none of this matters.
And then he didn’t get the Tonight Show because everything is dumb. So he went to CBS.
Everyone says that once he went to CBS he BECAME the institution. But those people are dumb. He never did a show that catered to anyone. I defy you to search for “Letterman McDoanld’s” or “Letterman Taco Bell” or “Don’t Blame Conan” on YouTube and tell me this is a guy who has lost his subversive edge. He didn’t. He just simply adjusted with age.
Dave stopped drinking when he got the Late Night gig. But that doesn’t mean we can’t raise a glass in his honor.
He deserves it. He was the best. Don’t believe me?
Believe John Stewart, Steven Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Norm MacDonald, The Simpsons, Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jerry Seinfeld. Just some of the insanely talented people who have said they wouldn’t be there without him.
Ed – @TheOnlyFeed
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