Lately I was preoccupied with other stuff and I ended up missing on David Letterman’s announcement regarding his retirement in 2015. When I finally learned about it like a week ago, it came as quite a shock for me. A television icon of 31 years decided that it’s enough and thought it is time to wrap things up. The sudden move caught everyone by surprise.
As a matter of fact, the news hit me so hard, that last several days have been a crazy Youtube marathon involving me watching all my favorite Dave videos.
I’ve been checking out the Late Show bits for 6 or 7 years. Thankfully there’s plenty of shows available on the Internet. What I found out over the years, apart from me absolutely adoring David Letterman, is that he actually is not particularly liked by Americans anymore. People’s comments mainly consist of lines such as ‘he’s an old fool’, ‘ignorant’, ‘stupid’, ‘Ferguson is better’, ‘Jimmy Fallon/Kimmel is better’ or my favorite – ‘rude’.
Obviously, seeing such insults I assumed I should check the hosts of other American late shows. If they’re even better than Letterman whom I find incredible, than why not follow their shows as well.
I was disappointed. The conclusion I came to after I carried out my talk-show ‘research’ was that save for Letterman, I only genuinely enjoyed watching Ellen. Seriously, I think that lots of folks like Ferguson only because of his Scottish accent. He’s probably the least funny host in my opinion. Jimmies are hit or miss, it depends on their guests really, additionally Fallon is just too kind to his guests. Conan’s so-so, but the sidekick buddy of his Andy Richter is quite annoying. Jay Leno is (was)…[insert Dave’s random imitation of Leno’s voice].
The thing about Letterman which is kind of transparent in shows is his evident lack of interest for some guests. But for the love of God, I believe it is next to impossible to show enthusiasm about some celebrities, who bring in only their looks and tiny brains to the table. The episode where Dave insisted on talking to Paris Hilton only about her jail time was absolutely hilarious (and for some reason people sympathized with her, what the hell???).
I don’t know if it’s European thing, but snarky type of humor is what makes talk-shows interesting and Letterman is great at utilizing it. Lately I can see lots of situations when people describe someone’s behavior as passive-aggressive and this includes Dave. Honestly, he’s rarely hostile towards his guests, sarcastic yeah, but most of the time he’s doing that with celebrities who know how to take a joke for crying out loud.
Besides, Letterman mellowed out lately, he often talks about kids and family life of his guests, but come on, he’s an older guy now, he settled down. Most of the time he is not there for blood or looking for controversy. There’s no need for him to go full force and prove he’s the best anymore. He talked with the biggest music, film and television names, he talked with the Presidents of the United States and many other politicians as well. He’s been on the air for over 3 decades and there are still millions of people watching him so I say bravo, all best to you sir Letterman.
Retirement announcement has already spawned lots of “best Letterman moments” lists which include Drew Barrymore flashing her breasts, infamous Madonna appearance from the mid-nineties, Dave goofing around in Taco Bell or the monologue following 9/11. I will not discuss these but I’d like to mention some of my own favorite interviews and interviewees, which perhaps are not that well-known in general..
Here are some of the most hilarious and amazing Letterman moments according to me:
- Warren Zevon’s final appearance – heartwarming and at the same time heartbreaking visit from one of the coolest rock musicians of all time, suffering from a terminal disease, who knows it’s probably his last time on Dave’s show
- David Duchovny – always laid-back and funny without even trying. Letterman is always really interested in what the man has to say. In this particular interview Californication star discusses his stay at monastery and also talks in goat (you heard me) language. This cracks me up every time.
- Jay-Z – not sure if he’s a natural airhead or that’s his kind of humor, but this unlikely combo works great in the awkward-funny zone. Letterman calling himself ‘Dave-Z’.. Pure gold.
- Jim Carrey’s antics – I mean some people hate the man. I can’t really understand it. Even if he goes over the top (and he does every single time), he’s just bringing smile to people around him and you can see David really likes him. One of my favorite Jim’s appearances is back from 1994, when he was promoting Dumb & Dumber.
More recently he completely copied Tom Hanks’ skunk story from one of the previous shows. Amazing comedian.
- David adores the sweethearts. Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Aniston, Claire Danes, Scarlett Johansson, Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway (and the list goes on), all appeared on the show multiple times. Letterman really enjoys having them as guests and he seems genuinely happy to see them.
- Frequent guests on the show include a range of male actors as well, such as Robert Downey Jr., Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, Robin Williams, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis… I believe these names already speak for themselves. Dave is really giving his best when they’re around and so are they.
- Emma Stone – she’s such a charming girl and Dave is totally all over her each time; contrary to what Youtube comments say, I don’t think she’s really upset about it – he’s just goofing around as usual and he remains very kind throughout the interviews, which only means he respects her as an actress.
- Undoubtedly, there is bromance going on between Dave and Regis Philbin. I love it how Dave always mocked Regis but behind this façade there is the utmost respect for the man. Maybe it’s not really entertaining for younger generations to watch old-boys like Philbin or Don Rickles, but they are some of the finest people in the show-business who certainly cannot be replaced.
- Ricky Gervais – he’s an incredible comedian and makes a great guest wherever he goes really, but he admires Letterman and both of them have a great time together. Any show with him is magical, but I really love this one from 2012, when Ricky accuses Dave of giving up after the host asks Ricky to pick a ‘question of the night‘ from the stash.
- Finally, my current favorite Dave’s guest, Jennifer Lawrence. This girl is completely nuts. She’s really down-to-earth, and so unlike other film stars. After seeing dozens of Jennifer Lawrence interviews, I must say her appearances on the Late Show are truly some of the most hilarious television moments ever. They have great chemistry together and the ridiculous stories of hers contrast wonderfully with Dave’s sarcastic, grumpy remarks. Her visit from November last year is possibly the one I love the most, but they’re all marvelous.”Have you always been hypochondriacal?”