Top 10 reasons David Letterman will be missed

Top 10 reasons David Letterman will be missed
image: hollywoodreporter.com

Every Letterman fan has his or her own reasons for being at least a little bit sad that tonight will be Dave’s last show.  Sure, we’ll be able to buy a box set of seasons 1 through 33 on DVD by Memorial Day, but it won’t be the same.

One day, one of my kids will probably bring the whole collection to my nursing home for Fathers Day.  It’ll keep me busy while they catch up on whatever version of email we’ll have created by then.  I expect that all 33 seasons will be stored on some kind of bubble and viewed through self-projecting, 3D glasses.

I have to admit here that I liked the old David Letterman just a little bit better than the new, improved version.  It could be that I just felt more in tune with that guy, like, “Hey, it’s not just me.”

The Late Night with David Letterman David Letterman was one feisty motherfucker.  That guy was ruthless.  That guy was fearless.  That guy was hilarious.

That guy ceased to exist when CBS introduced a kinder, gentler Dave in 1993.  And yet, he was still Dave.  Incorrigible, canny and not quite out of control.  The new David Letterman even took the oath of sobriety.

Late Night with David Letterman ran from 1982 to 1993, before people could become famous just for being famous.  That was before reality shows, sex tapes, Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian.  That David Letterman would’ve shredded Paris Hilton into Paris Holiday Inn and sent Kim Kardashian home to her mother in tears.

That was my guy.  That was Velcro .

Most people, including Dave, himself thought that he was the most likely successor to the throne of Johnny Carson, but that was not to be.  NBC announced in June of 1991 that Jay Leno would be replacing Carson when the King of Late Night retired in May of 1992.

Blander and less controversial, Leno was the safe choice.

So Dave, along with most of his staff and his band leader, Paul Shaeffer, pulled up stakes and moved their little show across the street to the Ed Sullivan Theater.  Dave spent the next two decades in second place, behind Leno’s tonight show, but he had a loyal following among his fans and his guests.

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Personally, I found Leno stiff and stilted.  To me, he seemed like a guy who was just going through the motions.  I found him a bit of a stuffed shirt.

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Kimmel I don’t get at all, but I’d be interested if he took any selfies in the shower with Sarah Silverman.

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Fallon is clearly the most talented of the lot, I just don’t feel any connection.  He’s not only talented, he’s reeeeeeally talented.  He’s got those beady little eyes, though that dart around like he never knows where he’s supposed to look.

As you can tell, I’ve been on Dave watch for a long time.  Through these last several shows, I’ve tried to decide what it is about him that keeps me watching.  Exactly what is that special something that only Letterman has?

I think the answer is that I don’t know.  But I do know this:  When you watch Dave, you feel like he’s right there in the room with you.   He’s your buddy and you guys are sitting around, talking shit and you’re in on all the jokes.

Steve Allen

Steve Allen (you’re probably too young to remember Steve) was the first to invite you into his little den.  Johnny Carson did it when he looked into the camera as if to say, “This gal on my couch is out of her mind.”

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Who else but Letterman could insult a guy like Chris Christie night after night, and then get Christie to come on his show and shove a donut into his mouth?  Nobody, that’s who.

From the Top 10 List to Stupid Pet Tricks to Great Moments in Presidential History, Dave made it all look easy.  No one on TV ever worked harder to look like he was just loafing.

About that Top 10 list I promised up there in the title; ahhhhh………I got nothin’.  I tried, I really tried.  I came up with a couple that sounded OK in my head, but they turned out to be pretty lame.

You’re going to have to watch tonight if you want a Top 10 List.  The truth is that I’m no Dave Letterman.  Then again, neither is anyone else.

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