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Was David Letterman’s Apology Authentic? – 10 Reasons Why he Must Stay

October 7, 2009

I used to be a big David Letterman fan years ago. But as with any show I eventually got bored with his show’s format and nightly routine. Although I watch the late talk shows sparingly, I confess to being a Leno and Conan fan. To each his own.

But last week’s revelation on air by Letterman about his trysts with former female staff was almost too much. David Letterman – the prince of clowns, Mr. Irreverent, or whatever you want to call him – has brought good-natured fun to late night viewers for over a quarter of a century. I remember him back in the late 1960s when he was just starting out. Letterman’s aged gracefully, and at 62 he still can let the zingers fly in a high school-boy way. That toothy grin – like he just stole cookies from the jar – still generates laughter.

Letterman now finds himself on the opposite side of the desk facing his own image: what the hell were you thinking, man? With his legions of loyal followers over many years Letterman is in a leadership position, with respect to how he influences public opinion. And as a very wealthy man who exerts significant control over the production of his show, there’s clearly a power role over CBS employees.

You don’t have to be a proverbial rocket scientist to know that you don’t muck around with subordinates at work – regardless of whether they’re “consenting adults.” Dave, my friend, you certainly messed up big time and will pay the price for a long time. And as for the “consenting adults,” we have no idea if that was truly the case. For now, we’ll take your word for it, Dave.

And that brings me to Letterman’s Monday night apology. I made a point of recording his show after watching the news clips of his admission last Thursday. I admit to a certain degree of voyeurism, but I really wanted to see how he would handle an apology. I’ve watched, like so many others, contrived pseudo apologies from a wide spectrum of politicians, business people and celebrities that I was curious to see whether Letterman would fall into that trap.

Well, Letterman didn’t.

The challenge that Letterman faced, in comparison to others who have deviated from monogamy, is that he’s a comedian who helps make people laugh at the end of their work day. People expect that, yet on Monday night he also wanted to address the media circus and offer apologies. It was quite something to watch Letterman, opening the show with jokes about the day’s events, and then sliding into a series of self-deprecating cracks about his situation. It was after the first break when seated at his desk that Letterman openly acknowledged his mistake last week of not fully comprehending the collateral damage from his actions. He apologized unreservedly to CBS female staff who have had to put up with hounding from the media. But his biggest apology went to his wife Regina. It was evident that he is torn up about what he did, and stated clearly that he has a lot of work ahead to work on his relationship with his wife.

Perhaps Letterman’s biggest challenge is how he’ll be able to parody others for their errors and transgressions, considering his own well publicized mistake. We’ll see how that plays out. And despite his show’s high ratings, I would expect they’re bound to subside in the coming weeks.

Do I personally want David Letterman’s The Late Show to disappear? Absolutely not. I may not watch it, but many people enjoy his zany humour. So I’ve provided below my list of why David Letterman should stay on television. Of course this isn’t a final list, so please chip in your reasons. And if you disagree, then feel free to express your why.

Why Dave Should Stay!

#10 – The best band on late night TV is on Letterman

#9 – Where would Paul Schaeffer put all his sunglasses?

#8 – What would happen to those who do stupid human tricks? Scary.

#7 – Leno and Conan need competition to stay sharp

#6 – No one else could have handled Joaquin Phoenix’s bizarre behaviour as well

#5 – Despite being small, Paul Schaeffer is too big to go back to his hometown of Thunderbay (T-Bay) Ontario

#4 – Dave’s tooth-gapped mischievous grin would be sorely missed

#3 – Nobody can skewer an obnoxious guest like Dave

#2 – Dogs will boycott CBS if they can’t do pet tricks on Dave’s show

#1 – Where else can you find the best in deadpan delivery, followed by barbed humor?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2009 10:04 pm

    It’s one of the mysteries of the universe, Susan, why these big shots do such dumb things that cause families huge amounts of pain. There’s a certain degree of hubris that accompanies this behavior, but at the core it seems to be a lack of moral compass.

  2. October 7, 2009 8:46 pm

    I agree that I’d like Dave to stick around. I enjoy his show, when I’m up late enough to see it.

    However, I do feel bad for his wife and those who find themselves in the same position — the wife of the N. Carolina governor, the wife of John Edwards, the wife of Eliot Spitzer. How come these smart, prominent, everything-going-for-them men make such stupid and selfish decisions? That’s what I don’t get.

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