Monday, May 11, 2015

"I think we've learned a little something about human nature, haven't we?"

Back in the '80s, most of my favoritest people in the world were in the habit of watching David Letterman.

A life of late nights, free of regret.
No such habit for me. Not that I was ignorant of his shtick (how could I be?). I'd watch, alright -- sometimes several nights in a row. Then I'd flee.

His guests were frequently unknown eccentrics, with dependably strange, even alarming proclivities. But it was Letterman's behaviour that rattled me the most.

To wit: here we have 17 minutes of television history, from 1982: Put-On Artist Andy Kauffman re-connecting (and how) with wrestler Jerry Lawler, arguably another variety of Put-On Artist:


Winner-by-a-melt-down, David Letterman -- Put-On Artist, nonpareil. That was several degrees cooler than I cared to get comfortable with.

"Cooler than being cool is ice-cold," said OutKast, in 2003 -- probably the same year I discovered that yet another pair of my favoritest people in the world had established a nightly habit of watching Letterman -- my parents.

What else to add, now that he's retiring? I wish him well, I suppose -- to roughly the same degree I once wished he hadn't been quite so universal in his appeal to my late-adolescent peers.

H/t to Scott Dagostino for the found footage.

3 comments:

scottdagostino said...

But ironically (his stock in trade), Letterman has only grown warmer (though no less grouchy) in his later years. Since having a kid, a sex scandal and open-heart surgery, he has been more vulnerable, more opposed to American political chicanery and less willing to waste time on vapid celebrities.

Many of us who loved him in the 80s now like to say he's lost his edge but oftentimes I think he's found it.

Darrell Reimer said...

Bill Carter's Late Shift claimed that often what Letterman was writing on his sheets of paper during commercial breaks were variations of, "I hate myself" and "I hate my job." From the sounds of it, it's probably fair to say that what love he did, in fact, have for the job has all but dissipated.

So, yeah: how can I not like Letterman, and wish him well? It's impossible.

Darrell Reimer said...

I should probably add that endearing himself to my parents further endeared him to me -- just not enough to change my (non) viewing habits.