The great thing about this site is that I just don’t have to post new episodes, I can post anything that comes to mind. And certainly tonight David Letterman is on my mind. So if you’ll allow me a few words about Dave I’ll follow those up with some of my favorite moments from his Late Night shows.
I think there’s a time, probably around 30-35 years old, when you start to realize that the people you grew up idolizing weren’t going to be around for ever. Maybe it’s the first time one of your sports heroes calls it quits or when your favorite actor dies. For me it was Van Miller, the voice of the Bills, retiring. I never wanted to hear a Bills game called by anyone else.
Tonight, David Letterman goes dark, and even though I rarely watched him anymore, I don’t want to think of TV without him. For me it’s personal and selfish. For those who don’t know I grew up without having a relationship with my dad (my choice). Luckily I grew up in the 80s. People like David Letterman, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray were the male influences in my life. They were the kings of “dry” comedy. I remember a friend of mine telling me when we fairly young, probably 12 or 13 years old, that he loved my “dry” sense of humor. It took me several years to understand what he meant. But I know now that it was from watching countless hours of David Letterman, seeing Ghostbusters at least 200 times, and knowing every line from Fletch. For better or for worse these were the guys who raised me from a distance. And I can’t thank them enough.
David Letterman was the first person to show us that geeks could be cool. He didn’t have the matinee idol good looks, he didn’t have the cool Hollywood friends, and he dressed like your uncle. Most nights you got the feeling he didn’t even want to be there. A sentiment I can certainly relate to. But he was the ultimate in cool for us kids of the 80s. Our parents had Carson, we had Dave. He was ours. He did things no one had ever done on TV. I don’t think he gets enough credit for being an innovator.
I remember how great it was when I was allowed to stay up as late as I wanted and being able to watch Dave “live”. Now that I’m an “adult” with a job, a wife and a kid I’ll probably watch it the next morning on my DVR. But I’ll try and work through the sadness and in a very “adult” way be thankful. Thankful to the man who taught me it was ok to be the guy at the party who didn’t want to be there but you still put the lampshade on your head anyway.
Thanks dad…er I mean Dave.
Here are some of David Letterman’s Best Moments…
The greatest strength of Dave was back in the day when he would go out and shoot bits in public. These are a few of his finest.
Dave works the drive thru at Taco Bell
Dave works the drive thru at McDonald’s
Dave’s Velcro Suit
It wasn’t the most funny but it was a moment that opened up a new way to be funny on tv. The guy puts on a suit of velcro and jumps onto a felt wall! Long before Jimmy Fallon was doing his schtick David Letterman was doing it. Remember that next time you’re watching the Tonight Show. It’s just Dave’s old show shot in HD with a younger looking host.
Dave with Kids
As any broadcaster will tell you, working with kids can be career suicide. But of course Dave made it gold every time. Dave is at his best when things are going bad.
Dave and Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Fast Food Trip
Of all of the David Letterman segments I’ve probably watched this one the most. His line to Zsa Zsa when the car alarm goes off is a perfect example of that Letterman “dry” humor. Also listen for Zsa Zsa’s reaction to Dave ordering gravy at KFC.
People always debate about the best guest on Letterman. Some say Howard Stern or Bill Murray or Bruce Willis. For my money it was always Richard Simmons. The two played off each other perfectly. Dave treated him him like we all want to treat that overly annoying guy at the party. Bonus in this video is at the 8 minute mark when Dave hits him with a fire extinguisher and the cooking segment at the end. Another of Dave’s biggest strengths, cooking segments is at the end.
Darlene Love – “Baby Please Come Home” Supercut
When Christmas comes around I have a pretty lengthy list of things I need to experience for it to truly “feel like christmas”. This annual performance of one of the greatest Christmas songs is right at the top of the list.
Dave’s Post 9-11 Monologue
For a man who made his career in comedy it might have been when we were at our worst that Dave was at his best. He spoke from the heart and everything he said was spot on perfect. He captured the thoughts we were all having and even had the skill to work in some humor when we really needed it most. It was one of the first times we saw the real human being David Letterman and damn it was perfect!
His best line through this is: “pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing”. It was the most accurate statement of those dark days. We were all trying to be brave but anyone who lived during those days knows deep down we were scared shitless. Thanks Dave for letting us know it was ok.