Letterman’s Meltdown

David Letterman used to be funny. I watched his show almost every night when I was in college, and it was always hilarious. But that has all changed in recent years. Oh, he still has his moments, but what George Bailey once said about Mr. Potter can now be said about David Letterman — he is a “warped, frustrated old man.”

Laura Ingraham has this to say about it:

“CBS’s Late Show host David Letterman is supposed to be funny. He makes more than $20 million a year because he is funny. His Top Ten List is a brand unto itself. He was endearing when he did bits like his old Stupid Pet Tricks. I laughed when he ribbed Oprah and Uma.

But on Tuesday night’s show, he acquitted himself as just another unhinged member of the liberal entertainment mafia when he interviewed Fox New Channel’s Bill O’Reilly.

Even before O’Reilly walked on stage, Letterman acted like a spoiled brat when he used a pencil to stir O’Reilly’s mug of water. (So the audience and Letterman were snickering as O’Reilly was oblivious when he went to drink.)

The most revealing exchange occurred toward the end of the segment.

Letterman: I’m not smart enough to debate you point to point on this, but I have the feeling, I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap. [audience laughter] But I don’t know that for a fact.
O’Reilly: Listen, I respect your opinion. You should respect mine.
Letterman: Yeah, but I think there’s something, this fair and balanced [Fox branding]. I’m not sure that it’s–I don’t think that you represent an objective viewpoint.
O’Reilly: Well, you’re going to have to give me an example if you’re going to make those claims.
Letterman: Well I don’t watch your show so that would be impossible.
O’Reilly: Then why would you come to that conclusion if you don’t watch the program?
Letterman: Because of things that I’ve read, things that I know.

Novel concept for a comedian/talk show host: invite a guest on your show, then insult him based on second-hand accounts of his work.

O’Reilly: You weren’t aware of the big giant controversy over Christmas?
Letterman: Well, I ignore stuff like that, it doesn’t really affect me. I go ahead and do what I wanna do. Let it go. It will take care of itself.

I’ll bet Letterman liked all those stories about President Bush living in a bubble, detached from the real world. But what about the blue-state-mentality bubble that Letterman lives in?

Other Letterman knee-slappers:

On Cindy Sheehan: “I am very concerned about people like yourself who don’t have nothing (sic) but endless sympathy for people like Cindy Sheehan. Have you lost family members in armed conflict? [O’Reilly answers no.] Then you can hardly speak for her.”

On the war in Iraq: “Why the hell are we there to begin with?”

Letterman deserves credit for having traveled both to Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain the troops. But does he stop to wonder how his pro-Sheehan, anti-Bush lines would go over there?

When Al Gore or Howard Dean or Al Franken sit down with Dave it’s light and funny and cozy and friendly. With O’Reilly, Letterman was dismissive, condescending, and just plain nasty. He was more Carville than Carson. Actually, even James Carville is funnier than Dave these days. And nicer, too.

Why does this matter? Be cause for better or worse, many younger Americans get the bulk of their cultural and even political news from hosts like Letterman and Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, who want us to believe that their humor is non-partisan. After all, they are quick to point out, let’s not forget all the Monica jokes they told when Bill Clinton was president.

But Letterman’s sit-down with O’Reilly, much like Stewart’s petulant attack against Tucker Carlson on CNN (calling Carlson a male-private part), was notable for what it revealed. Underneath it all, Letterman is just another liberal frustrated at the very existence of guys like O’Reilly, and of men like President Bush. You look at his facial expressions when he’s talking to O’Reilly and hear his tone and you know he’s thinking — how can Americans be so ignorant? How could they elect the buffoon in the White House and how could they watch this buffoon sitting across from me?

It is painfully obvious that many of the entertainment giants are making the same mistake the “mainstream” media giants made decades ago when they began staking out biased and “edgy” political positions that offended and alienated millions of potential viewers. Eventually, this drove people to seek out alternative media outlets — such as the Fox News Channel. If the Letterman and his ilk don’t drop the persistent disdain for red state America, we can expect to see the same thing happen to their industry.

Then we’ll see who has the last laugh.”

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2 comments so far

  1. Hoots Musings on

    Hi Mike,
    No more Letterman for the HOOTS House. I was appalled that Dave could be so smugly arrogant and draw his beliefs and opinions about Bill from what he has heard.

    I will vote with my remote and it is Leno from now on for me and my house.

    Excellent post!

  2. PatrickMead on

    And they wonder why Letterman’s ratings have never been great and have recently been poor? Most of us don’t live in the blue states. Most of us don’t live in a bubble. And most of us don’t find Letterman funny anymore.


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