Late Night with David Letterman first aired on February 1, 1982. As an underwhelming Grade 12 student who did not have to be at class until 9:45 the following morning, I was thrilled there was, or what I thought was, live television on at 12:30 in the morning.
Most of us had grown up with the canned laugh track of the Partridge’s and the Brady’s. Some of us were lucky enough to discover the British comedic invasion led by Monty Python.
Dave came along at the perfect time and made the perfect impression. The best part being, Dave did not have to be perfect to be funny. In fact when things went wrong there was genrally more guffaws. He had no problem with lauging at himself.
Characters from the NBC years like Larry “Bud” Melman, Flunky “the late night” Clown and anything Chris Elliott did were bizarre and hilarious. Dave was quite often the straight man, but he was always ready with a line.
His trips out of the studio were gold.
This sounds snobby. The early Top 10 lists were the best, because the whole premise of Letterman’s Top 10 list was to make fun of every other media contrived top 10 list.
It seemed to become a parody of itself over the last few years.
Full admittance, Dave pretty much lost me when he moved to 11:35 in the evening. It was too early. I’m glad he did not get the Tonight Show.
Conan O Brien put it best “Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave’s seismic impact on comedy.”
Letterman skewered our sense of humour.