Why David Letterman is among the biggest losers in TV history

20 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bill Murray appears to be a drunken mess after ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ final appearance.

Murray told Letterman during the interview: “You got out of Indianapolis and didn’t look back. In the ever-changing world of TV talk show hosts, David Letterman has been a constant for so long that the thought of him packing away his interview desk seems impossible.Following the “Groundhog Day” actor’s interview with David Lettermen he hopped over the MSNBC for “The Last Word,” but it seems he may have celebrated a little too hard at CBS.

No matter how much moral outrage his defenders can muster — no matter how many column inches were filled by writers who said America should like him more — Letterman is the man who couldn’t beat Jay Leno, and sometimes couldn’t beat Leno’s replacement. “He was a former weatherman and a failed morning-show host who perfected a sort of snide, irreverent attitude towards showbiz types,” Rolling Stone wrote after Letterman announced his retirement last year. “After getting noticed by Johnny Carson and making a fan out of NBC bigwig Fred Silverman, however, David Letterman found himself taking his goofy antics to a 12:30 am time slot — and thus, a late-night TV legend was born.” There was no doubt that the legend was, well, legendary. But sadly, the King of Chat will sign off from The Late Show With David Letterman for the final time tonight, and the world of celebrity grilling will be the poorer for it.

Murray, who is known for his physical high jinks, first falls out of his chair on live TV but it is when he begins to slur his words that it looks like he really might be impaired. I had a chance to strangle Richard Nixon and I didn’t—and I regret it!” He dived out of a giant cake and then spread icing across the hands and faces of the show’s band members and some audience members with one lady getting both cake and a kiss on the lips.

Here are glimpses of some of the memorable episodes- David Letterman broadcasts his final show on Wednesday, ending a historic 33-year run of the unpredictable, caustic comedy show. Comic and actress Tina has been one of David’s most popular guest choices over the years (as she claims, because she “lives close by and people cancel a lot”), but her most recent appearance was her most memorable.

In the run-up to Thursday’s episode, Letterman has recruited A-listers across all disciples for a trip down memory lane, including Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. He invented the “Top 10″ list; he invented “Stupid Pet Tricks”; he poked a hole in the absurd, celebrity-fueled gas bag that was late-night television. Much like all the other stars that have visited the show, Murry attempted to stop the host from calling it quits but he also shared some strange words with him. “You’ve had a wonderful run,” he told the host after taking a shot of vodka. “You fell in love and you married a virgin who gave birth to an infant god child… then your wife gave up the virgin thing completely and you’ve been rolling ever since. ” Following his interview the comedian ran out of the studio covered in cake in an attempt to get others to help him get the host to stay by leading a song “more Worldwide Pants” to the tune of “Give Peace a chance.”

Late night’s two Jimmys, NBC’s Fallon and ABC’s Kimmel – the very guys hastening Letterman’s departure – have gone out of their way to pay their respects to their rival at CBS. Nearly everyone hosting a late-night show these days – not just the Jimmys, but Conan O’Brien and Jon Stewart and Seth Meyers and Letterman’s pending replacement, Stephen Colbert – owe a tremendous debt to the guy from Indiana with the gap-toothed smile and the irrepressible ability to turn everything into a joke.

Only Letterman’s mentor, Johnny Carson, who hosted “The Tonight Show” on NBC from 1962 to 1992 and forged the late-night talk show into an American institution, was as meaningful to the genre. “I think he is as important as Carson,” said Ross Brown, who teaches at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange. “They are different in what they contributed. Obama traveled to New York to announced the creation of an independent nonprofit organization that is a spinoff his “My Brother’s Keeper” program, to tape a segment on Letterman’s show and to do fundraising for the Democratic party. But Dave really broke through and found a style that has become much more of what’s happening today.” For all of his innovation, though, trends in television are pushing Letterman, 68, off the “Late Show” stage just as surely as his desire to retire. Kimmel, whose “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” started from scratch 12 years ago, is in a virtual tie with Letterman for total viewers but outstrips him by 20 percent among the advertiser-preferred demographic of adults younger than 50.

Instead, he joked about Amy Fisher before getting down to business. “As some of you may know,” Letterman said, “in the past year and a half, I’ve kinda been interested in doing a show earlier than the one I’m doing now.” Ever the smart aleck, he thanked CBS for its “patience,” “support” and, slyly, “generosity.” (Letterman’s three-year deal was worth $42 million.) For a while after that press conference, Letterman was riding high. But if it’s fair to say Letterman might not be leaving if Fallon weren’t around, it’s also fair to say that Fallon’s show might not exist without Letterman. People just liked watching his show more than they liked watching my show.” “As Leno prepares for his final few Tonight Shows, he finds himself in a unique position: More widely watched than any of his competitors, yet widely reviled by the majority of his peers,” EW wrote last year. An astute student of comedy, he reached back to the 1950s to borrow bits from Steve Allen and Ernie Kovacs, then buffed them up with a post-modern gloss.

And he fessed up to an extramarital affair in 2009. “I want to be the person I always thought I was and probably was pretending I was,” he told Oprah Winfrey in 2013. “I hurt a lot of people … I’m not looking to blame anybody. Joaquin refused to answer David’s questions and claimed he was giving up acting for a rap career, all as a massive stunt for the 2010 movie I’m Still Here. As ABC 7 explained: “I was delighted by everything that happened — except you losing your job,” Letterman told O’Brien on ‘The Late Show’ in a May 2012 interview, during which both TV hosts did a mock imitation of Leno.” If Letterman wanted to use a 20-year-old feud for laughs or simply remind his audience the feud existed, such comments seemed irrelevant. He was hosting a talk show while somehow standing apart from it and saying, “Isn’t this kind of silly?” He was simultaneously a teenager too cool for school and a 10-year-old boy driving Dad’s car around the parking lot. Notably, where Carson would engage celebrity guests and trade friendly banter, Letterman was just as likely to provoke them by saying something inappropriate – if it seemed funny.

Letterman almost immediately signed a deal with CBS to create the rival “Late Show.” Leno and Letterman engaged in a back-and-forth battle for ratings until Leno retired last year. Not only will she be one of the ultra-rare female hosts (Joan Rivers briefly had her own series on Fox), Handler’s show will be available for viewers to watch when they please.

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