Well Vixens, I am finally ready to address the end of “Late Night With David Letterman”. Yes, I am aware his show ended almost a month ago, but since I am still processing his decision to retire it should be no surprise I cannot handle the finality of the situation. 😦
Here is a not so fun fact about me: I get very attached to things and people and change is very difficult for me. I am not sure why since I am as spontaneous as they come. Perhaps it is part of my Pisces swimming in two different directions personality, if I believed in such things.
But Dave is a hard one for me to say goodbye to. You see, he was my roommate (figuratively speaking)…..my first roommate by which the rest would be judged and fail to compare with. When I moved out to my own place I had a job working 4-12 in a call center (say it with me: EW!!!). So I got home around 12:30am and I was totally alone. No friends to see or even to call since they were asleep to accommodate their 9-5 lives. I had my prime time shows taped on my VCR, but since it was the summer they were repeats. I loved living in my own place but I had not counted on the loneliness my different schedule would bring. I loved being up in the middle of the night when I lived at home and when I was in the dorm at college, so this was unfamiliar territory for me. To coin a phrase, I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
So I started off on my own yellow brick road. In my world that meant turning to one of my consistence forms of comfort since I was a child: the television (my version of Toto). And there was David Letterman-my Scarecrow, from 12:30am to 2am. These were the glorious days before infomercials, so there were actual programs on for the whole night. Dave was followed by three episodes of one of the greatest shows ever-“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (the Tin Man)-from 2am-3:30am and two episodes of “The Bob Newhart Show” (the Lion in the Chicago show, not the Vermont show)-from 3:30am-4:30am, after which time I was ready for bed.
But I digress.
Dave was like that one friend in college who pulled all nighters with me and introduced me to a whole new world I not only loved, but one in which I belonged. It was sarcastic (Question: If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, what would he be doing? Answer: Clawing at the inside of his coffin trying to get out), and silly (Dave going into a “Lamps Only” store and asking if they sold t-shirts), had experiments with Chris Elliot and skits with Larry “Bud” Melman (a/k/a Calvert Grant DeForest), not to mention great music, courtesy of Paul Schaeffer and the Band and a slew of phenomenal musical guests.
The first part of Dave’s career-the NBC years- also brought: Stupid Pet Tricks, Rocket Chair Races and of course, the Velcro wall, the Alka-Seltzer suit, the sponge suit, the Magnet suit and the Rice Krispies suit. We also watched Dave throw things off the roof of a five story tower, crush things with a steamroller, play the “Will It Float” game and of course introduce us to many gifted comics as well as his nightly Top 10 list.
The move to CBS gave new life to his career (and to the legendary Ed Sullivan Theater) thanks to an 11:30pm time slot. During these years we also saw the more poignant moments: Dave’s first night back after the September 11 attacks with Dan Rather, Dave’s return after his open heart surgery with the Dr.’s and nurses who were at his side, talking to Warren Zevon about his impending death, Dave becoming a father and his subsequent marriage to his son’s mother and visiting his own mother’s home for periodic segments. It was difficult to watch him try so hard to be Oprah’s friend (she already has Gayle & her dogs), but then he was right back to his zany self musing about the meaning of “sod busting” with Paul after he and the band played “Wildfire” during a commercial break. And true to form, Dave finally brought on Michael Martin Murphy to perform the song as a great climax to the running joke.
One of my favorite memories was a joke by Pee Wee Herman. It may not be your taste, but it made me roll!!!
My favorite guest: Richard Simmons. His interaction with Dave was too hilarious for words so watch for yourself here.
Photo courtesy of CBS.
Over the years my life and my schedule changed. I lost the Tin Man and the Lion along the way, but Dave remained a constant in my life. There were times I could only watch his monologues (or would only watch them, if only to avoid sitting through interviews with “reality stars”). But except for his health related absences, Dave was a fixture in my life for decades. I will and do miss him very much. 😦
It’s been a year of very sad TV goodbyes but I think I will miss Dave most of all.