Late Night with David Letterman turns 40 on February 1st.
It started out with the DNA of Steve Allen, and for one teenager really captured the moment of the mid-80s. Then, Dave headed to CBS and [11:30] and it was never the same.
From the basement where we can filler is disguised as attribute to the 40th anniversary of late night with David Letterman coming up on February 1st it’s daily comedy news. Hi, I’m Johnny Mac. The Washington post wrote a lengthy piece with David Letterman in 2017. Harry Joseph Letterman, his father introduced Dave to Jack Betty’s radio show.
He also introduced Dave to the concept of the tortured performer. Harry owned a flower shop. And to this day, David Letterman, isn’t sure why his father seemed happiest when he was playing Oregon, which he could do for hours. We’re putting on an impromptu show. Even at church functions. Dave said his father would throw in jokes at of props.
He would turn something dull into something. Well, he liked flowers and like growing them and arranging them. It’s not where he wanted to be. , the post rights, what set Letterman apart, as much as this material was his persona, he was a fidgety self-depreciating figure.
Either so pleased or so disturbed when a joke failed that he would remind viewers of the biggest bombs by calling them back throughout the show. Paul Shaffer said, if we were analysts, we can analyze him. He wouldn’t even have to lie down on the couch. And he loved having a show like that. And he liked real conversation, even between me and him.
He never wanted a plan, what we were going to say. And it made for a real, what you see is what you get kind of experience.
Eventually Letterman would define himself as a performer, but on his own terms, there were bits clearly borrowed from Steve Allen, the former tonight show host and one of his heroes, but there would be nothing approximating Johnny Carson’s Carnac the magnificent on late night instead, David Letterman would crack jokes while working the drive-through at a McDonald’s or hall accrued with Sears in Hicksville, New York to confront the viewer names, Colleen Boyle, who had criticized him in a viewer mail segment for wearing sneeze.
The new Yorker wrote about Dave. And I think they really captured where I was. I was probably the same age as the writer who says back when I was 16 trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild. David Letterman seemed like an anarchist. His manners suggested that TV could puncture the culture rather than prop it up.
My friends, particularly guys became his acolytes, quoting his catchphrases and my group to this as well. This exact same phrase. They pelted us with rocks and garbage copying Dave’s deadpan effect. All of us imprinted like ducklings on his persona, the nice guy with the mean streak, making the world safe for smart comedy. The truth is the show Letterman oversaw in those early years was a far lighter freer, more strange and cerebral and surreal project. And it eventually became, it began as the brainchild of Dave and his girlfriend at the time.
Merrill Marcus. Who was the show’s first head writer. She invented one offs like dog poetry and perennial segments, like stupid pet tricks. They had considered to doing stupid baby tricks, but worried about the legal implications
in 1980, pulling from earlier experimentalists like Ernie Kovacs and Steve Allen, they built a daytime talk show on NBC full of oddball. Which bored Housewives, but one over college kids, when it flopped the network was eager to keep Dave on the schedule. So got rid of Tom Snyder.
Late night was on a [12:30] AM. This was before TiVo and Hulu. When you actually had to stay up late to catch the funky stuff. Within two years, Dave was a hero at a wiseacres every. On the surface, the early Letterman resembled his mentor, the IC superstar, Johnny Carson. He was apolitical.
He was Midwestern. He had an oppressive manner and lanky college boy looks, but he vibrated with a contradictory charisma. He had a discomfort with back panning and schmoozing, an odd characteristic for a man who his longtime dream job was TV. The early, late night included stars, but they were never the point.
The charge came from the bits, the remotes, the pranks, , a circus of eccentricity from monkey cam to Chris Elliott, climbing out from beneath the bleachers. Regulars included Larry bud Melman and elderly character actor, who was both mocked and adored
over the decades through the bruising late night wars with Jay Leno past a sex scandal handled with refreshing bluntness and a heart attack and into his late curmudgeon era on CBS. Letterman occasionally seemed at risk of dissolving Cheshire cat style into his green glasses and cigar his influence spread so wide that his innovations became cliches.
I’ve talked about this on this podcast before I loved NBC Letterman and like the first year of CBS Letterman. And then I just stopped watching. And this was something I loved to kind of reminds me of Howard stern. I used to hang on every word. Howard stern says I have zero interest at all in the 2022 version of Howard stern, CBS Letterman.
I always sum it up
1230, Dave hor sneakers, 1130, Dave, wore Armani and shoes..
And so he’d come to the end. UPI, January 14th, 1993. David Letterman has accepted a multi-million dollar deal to move his late night talk show to CBS in August. After his contract with NBC runs. Howard stringer president of the CBS broadcast group said Letterman show will premiere on CBS and an 1130 Monday through Friday time slot going head to head with Jay Leno on NBC’s tonight.
Show ABC’s Nightline and Paramount’s syndicated Arsenio hall show stringer said the time period should have belonged with Dave a long time ago. And now it will. He’s smart. He’s thoughtful, he’s original, he’s daring. And he’s fun. We are delighted to welcome Dave and his very talented team to the CBS.
At the press conference. A cigar chomping. Letterman said, as some of you may know for the last year and a half, I’ve been kind of interested in doing a show a little earlier than the one I’m doing now, the reality has come to pass, but what ultimately makes me happy and satisfied is it gets to come here and do it at CBS.
At a taping of his Thursday show in New York at David Letterman told his audience that his last eight NBC would be June 25th and quipped don’t mind me. I’m just attempt. Reports are Letterman will make between 14 and $16 million a year. A Letterman would not disclose, but said it’s enough to buy a pack of gum.
The deal. Certainly would’ve put a smile on Jack Benny’s face, even the condition he’s in. Now, he would have found some reason.
Earlier in the day, NBC had their own press conference.
Jay Leno wrote up to the podium on a motorcycle and said, I have the job. What we’re celebrating here is that I haven’t been fired.
Leno at that time said he remained friends with Letterman during the negotiation saying throughout these negotiations, it has not been a case of somebody trying to screw somebody else. It was a matter of, Hey, it’s an important job. And everybody would like to have it. Littlefield said, NBC would replace Letterman in the 1230 slot will the show from the producers of Saturday night live.
Speculation is Dana Carvey will take over the 1230 slot replacing Letterman, other candidates, Dennis Miller and Bob Costas. No mention of Conan O’Brien in that same 2017 Washington post article. I opened up with, they asked Dave, do you miss hosting late night? And he said, not for a second. That’s your comedy news for today?
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