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Memories of a gap-toothed late night funnyman

LettermanOne of my first memories of comedy as I knew it came from David Letterman. I remember his old NBC show, Late Night with David Letterman when it was first on in the 1980s. I remember it being on in the living room as a youngster and if I wasn’t feeling very well and was throwing up late at night, I would watch Dave and he was very funny, even to a little kid like me. I especially enjoyed when he did the Top Ten list and when he would drop stuff off of a five-story tower.

Years later after he didn’t get the Tonight Show after Johnny Carson retired,Dave moved to CBS and took many of his bits with him and includeed new ones. I remember watching all the time in middle school and he would do a bit called Fun with Rupert where Hello Deli owner Rupert Jee, disguised in a hat,glasses,a hidden camera,and an earpiece, would interact with people and do some funny and unusual things. Letterman, hidden in a van, would feed him things to say or do from the earpiece and it was just hilarious. It was also dangerous as Jee had a knife pulled on him, therefore ending the segment.

Later on in his Late Show tenure, Dave had a recurring bit called “Pat and Kenny read Oprah Transcripts”, where two of his stagehands, Pat Farmer and Kenny Sheehan, would read transcripts from The Oprah Winfrey Show. Farmer would play Oprah, and Sheehan, who was always smoking a cigarette during the piece, would play the guest that Oprah had on. It was one of those simple things that just made me laugh and it was done in such a funny way.

He had a lot of favorite guests which became some of your favorites to see whenever they appeared on his show. People like Tom Hanks,Madonna, Bill Murray, Howard Stern, Regis Philbin,and even Julia Roberts, who Dave became a big fan of as time went on. Even when people rarely came on like Oprah Winfrey, it was an event in itself. Whenever some of these peopl appear today,I still watch because of how entertaining their visits are and have been.

Thursday, the soon-to-be 67 year old Letterman announced that he will be retiring in 2015. His late night television career is 15 days older than me and while I knew the day that Letterman would retire was coming soon, it’s still going to be sad to see him go. Letterman was a big part of my childhood, a lot of my own humor comes from him. He was such a groundbreaking broadcaster that a lot of the hosts you see today have tried to emulate and live up to. The guy that does it best is Jimmy Fallon, who reminds me so much of Dave with the things he does now on The Tonight Show.

Innovative, hilarious, irreverant,and witty, that’s David Letterman.


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April 2014
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