The 32 Greatest Talk-Show Hosts Ever, as ranked by Vulture
Darlene Love's new music video features cameos from Joan Jett, Bill Murray, Paul Shaffer, her 'Forbidden Nights' songwriter Elvis Costello, and her album's producer, Steven Van Zandt, who once called her "the greatest singer in the world." Van Zandt appears in the video being strangled by another Love collaborator and fan, Bruce Springsteen. [more inside]
Bob Dylan sang The Night We Called It a Day on David Letterman's next-to-last Late Show episode. This was the third time he appeared on Letterman show. He played at the 10th Anniversary show in 1992 backed by an all-star band assembled by Dylan fan Paul Shaffer. But perhaps the most significant was in 1984, when Dylan's star was at a low ebb. He played three songs accompanied by LA Latino punk band The Plugz, Don't Stop Talking (Sonny Boy Williamson cover), and two tracks off Dylan's album Infidels, License to Kill and Jokerman. Two videos from the rehearsal also exist, featuring songs Treat Her Right (Roy Head cover) and I Once Knew a Man, which is probably a Dylan original, but nobody knows for sure. New York Magazine's Vulture blog interviewed The Plugz and told the story of the performance.
David Letterman's coming retirement after 6,000 episodes has prompted a look back at some of his best bits, including many of his writers reflecting on the greatest jokes that never made it on air (with comments from David himself). Splitsider has a year-by-year video breakdown of the best material (including John Malkovitch at his creepiest and an amazing bit with Elaine Stritch). The New York Times weighs in with their favorites, while Rolling Stone lists his favorite guests, tensest interviews, best musical numbers (some are very good!), and asks if the famously grumpy Letterman is happy at last.
"I had Dave’s voice all analyzed and figured out, because not only did I live with him, but I was preoccupied with creating a show that would please him. Nowadays we call that sort of thing “co-dependence.” But in those days I simply called it “being head writer.”.Mike Sacks' [previously] extended interview with Late Night‘s original head writer, Merrill Markoe.
In 1985, multinational conglomerate Majesco Industries changed its name to MJI. To publicize this change to its employees, subsidiaries, shareholders and partners, it commissioned an industrial video... [more inside]
This Friday, Darlene Love will perform "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on David Letterman's show for the 28th and last time. She's performed it every year since 1986, on both Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman. Here's a supercut compilation of her performances. [more inside]
"How do Letterman’s writers start a list, and how do they end one? What kind of jokes work best in the Top Ten format? What kind of jokes don’t work at all? Which political figures have found their way onto the list most often? And what’s with all the Regis references? To answer these questions, I performed a statistical analysis of every Top Ten List ever read on the air by Letterman."
Noted computer program and pop singer Hatsune Miku performs on The Late Show with David Letterman. What's a Miku!? you ask, and Buzzfeed answers in list form. Previously on Metafilter.
At first, the new Jerry Seinfeld show seemed reassuringly like the old one. Spontaneous coffees with friends. Mindless chatter that occasionally verged on the hilariously brilliant. But look closer and you see that this show isn’t that show, and that new realities are upon us in America. Anand Giridharadas editorializes about Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: Seinfeld, His Show, and Inequality. (SLNYT)
It's official: David Letterman, the bridge between Johnny Carson and today's viral-video-driven talk shows, is hanging up his desk at the end of his current contract next year. The news was broken by, of all people, REM's Mike Mills via Twitter. Letterman surpassed Carson's record for hosting longevity last year, and many thought that his latest extension would in fact be the last. [more inside]
Dan Ozzi talks to Sheryl Zelikson, Late Show music producer, about how she selects guests, what goes into booking the musical segment, and how to get your band on the show. Tonight's Musical Guest: How Late Show with David Letterman Books Its Acts.
In 1994, Tony Randall and Mandy Patinkin's car broke down outside David Letterman's studio and they needed a place to rehearse. Did Dave mind if they used the stage? Great take it away Mandy! [more inside]
Always backed by the 12th Street Rag, Marv Albert has brought us "wild and wacky moments in the world of sports (compiled by his crack staff and producer Dave Katz)" for just under thirty years. [Caveats: Some dates are approximate. Some of the more famous clips appear multiple times. Hockey violence, boxing referees getting hit, borked slides into third, etc.] And we start with the early 80's — 1984: a b — 1985 — 1985-86: a b c — 1986 (in review) — 1987: a b c d — 1988 (in review) — 1989: a b — Review of the 80's — Early 1990's — 1997 — 1999's Wild and Wacky Millenium — 2008 — 2009 — 2010 — 2011 — first half of the 2011 NFL season — a 30-minute compilation — another compilation — baseball compilation
Early performances of well-known comedians, collected by mikl-em on Laughing Squid: Louis C.K. (also see The Evolution of Louis C.K., a YouTube edit of his tribute to George Carlin - previously - intercut with clips throughout his career); Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, and Steven Wright; Sarah Silverman; David Letterman; Steve Martin; Robin Williams; and "What They Did Before 30 Rock". Also see posts on George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Father Guido Sarducci, and Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.
Back in April 1986, Tonight Show host Johnny Carson stole a truck. The owner eventually got it back, but the incident resulted in a messy televised trial that gripped the nation. Then in February 2004, the victim recounted the story to Conan O'Brien. [more inside]
Amy Sedaris has appeared as a frequent guest on Letterman (David Letterman's late night talk show in the US), usually delivering rapid-fire improvisation to a bemused Dave and Paul under the guise of an interview. With the magic of the internet, some of these videos are now on YouTube. [more inside]
"Maybe that's the purpose of television. You just turn it on and watch it whether you want to or not." - David Letterman
After getting his start as a DJ on Ball State's WAGO-FM, David Letterman spent most of the 1970s appearing in a lot of cheesy television, exhaustively chronicled here. Whether kayaking on the Battle of the Network Stars, appearing on an ill-fated variety show with Mary Tyler Moore, working as a panelist on The Love Experts, or hosting a game-show pilot for The Riddlers (part 1, 2, and 3), Letterman more than paid his dues. [more inside]
Rena Smaha and her trained rhesus monkeys on Late Night with David Letterman. The year is 1987. Rena Smaha brings her two rhesus monkeys over for a tea party and a few stupid pet tricks. Unfortunately, Dave and Sandy the Monkey don't quite see eye to eye...
How to Tell a Story. "The humorous story is strictly a work of art--high and delicate art-- and only an artist can tell it; but no art is necessary in telling the comic and the witty story; anybody can do it. The art of telling a humorous story--understand, I mean by word of mouth, not print--was created in America, and has remained at home." That Itchy Chick | You Should Have Seen The Old Man [more inside]
The writers for the Late Show with David Letterman have recently had some trouble coming up with jokes about Obama. Perhaps they should take a lesson from the master of Obama jokes, the President himself. President Obama brought down the house at last night's White House Correspondents' Dinner, poking fun at himself, his administration, and everyone else within shouting distance. Host Wanda Sykes followed Obama's show stealing performance with a few choice jabs of her own. Unfortunately, it seems that Dick Cheney's prediction has come true since no one is safe when the Comedian-in-Chief steps up to the mic.
Tonight in the MetaFilter Lecture Series, "Health through Nutrition: Its Prevention and Cure" by Brother Theodore Gottlieb (1906-2001), stand-up tragedian. [more inside]
With George W. Bush's presidency coming to a close David Letterman on last night's The Late Show bid farewell to his recurring segment "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches" with a video montage [4:00] of clips. Another compilation of clips [4:49].
A nice thirty-two minute interview taped a little less than a year ago. Interviewer: Dave Eggers. Subject: Chris Elliott.
Hiram Bullock, original guitarist for Paul Shaffer's "Worlds Most Dangerous Band" died on July 25th. He was a fixture in the early days of David Letterman's show. The cause of death was not disclosed but Bullock had been undergoing treatment for cancer and was known to have had drug problems. Bullock was 52. [more inside]
A very, very funny Bill Murray guest stars on the first episode of Late Night with David Letterman -- 1982
Tori Amos changes "MILF" to "MILX" for her recent Letterman appearance. Her new song "Big Wheel" ends with a refrain of "I am an M-I-L-F," but careful listening to the performance suggests that she changed the "F" to an "X" - and perhaps slurred it a little to conceal the fact that the change had been made. Was this a quiet example of giving in to the television morality police, or an artistic statement of another sort?
Larry Bud Melman has Passed Away. Larry was there with David from the Beginning and continued to make appearances on the show through 2002. He was 85.
Under appreciated, once almost-famous comedian Chris Elliot is, in a word, odd. His start as a runner/page on the early days of Late Night with David Letterman led to his recurring roles as "the guy under the stairs" and "Marlon Brando". Soon after he landed a sit-com called "Get a Life" on a fledgling Fox network, which can only be described as surreal. From there he created his first (and last) feature length star vehicle "Cabin Boy" (which features a hilarious cameo with Letterman in his only movie role). These days he is more known as a character actor in comedic roles. But a few books and a look back at his work makes you wonder why he might be the only celebrity on the internet with no apparent fan site.
George W. Bush Invigorating Ameria's Youth On Monday David Letterman aired video footage [Real] of an "obviously bored silly" 14-year-old kid goofing off while standing on stage behind the president during a speech. [more inside]
David Sedaris on tour Go see him in your town! Anybody see David Sedaris on Letterman last night? He read a new piece about a portable colostomy bag. Mr. Sedaris is a regular contributor to This American Life on NPR. If you haven't read or heard David Sedaris, you are really missing out.
Another decade, another network jump for Letterman? Dave is very seriously considering an offer from ABC for its 11:35 slot, for reasons not unlike the ones he gave for jumping to CBS from NBC in the first place: little network support. More distressingly, the article strongly implies that Nightline is doomed in its present form regardless of whether Dave decides to join ABC or stay at CBS.
Praise be to David Letterman for tonight's Late Show. Questioning himself the appropriateness of returning to the air, there he was--the man famed for his sarcasm and goofy antics--addressing his audience like a wounded child, completely bewildered, emotional, fighting back tears. And then the sight of Dan Rather sobbing despite himself and then apologzing---it was enough to ravage any audience. Perhaps, for the first time in a while, television didn't appeal to our lowest common demoninator but, instead, sought to raise us up and appeal to our humanity. Thanks Dave.
Letterman makes like Rodney Dangerfield and goes "Back to School." David Letterman will be a special guest speaker in the journalism class that Al Gore is teaching. On a side note, does anyone else find it ironic that a class on journalism is being taught "off the record"?
This from the no-graphics page of the Progressive Review: "DAVID LETTERMAN has recently expressed interest in hosting a presidential debate and has not decided whether or not to include Ralph Nader. To express your view on this matter call the short at (212) 975-5300 and ask for Art."
Sounds like fun to watch if it's true, if it even plays out.
Sounds like fun to watch if it's true, if it even plays out.