Readers of the blog and those who have
heard me speak know that there is no one higher on my list of people I admire
than David Letterman.
Sure, I love the show, but I love the man
First, as I have said many times, when
faced with an embarrassing situation of being blackmailed about his past,
somewhat unsavory sexual exploits with young women on his staff prior to his
marriage, he owned up to it on air. He admitted his error and took action to
end the blackmailing. He demonstrated the kind of behavior that so few of our
political leaders ever do. He said he was lost, wrong and sorry. He made it OK
for me to say the same things when I make a mistake.
Second, I have been to the show twice as an
audience member. The goofy guy with the razor-like wit is also a master at
controlling those who work for him and making sure that the great pride he
takes in putting on a truly entertaining show every night is shared by everyone
on the set. During commercial breaks he is constantly huddling with his
producers and director assessing the progress of the show. He is anything but
the gap-toothed, Midwestern rube that he pretends to be as he interviews some of
the most challenging people in the world and does it better than most of those
in the news division of CBS.
Third, the band. Dave’s relationship with
Paul Shaffer is truly unique and Paul is a very special talent. That band is as
good as any I have ever heard and that includes the Rolling Stones. Just listen to them play the Stones as they
do once in a while. Fantastic. They play during the commercial breaks and
before the show starts. If you ever get the chance to go before Dave and Paul
fade into the sunset, do so. It’s free and fabulous and taped at 4:30 PM so you
can still have dinner and make even a 7 or 8 PM curtain on Broadway. It’s the
greatest show you don’t have to pay for.
Fourth, he is smart enough to own
everything. World Wide Pants is his production company and when he had his
little dust-up about the young women, the network couldn’t touch him or pull
him off the air. He was in control of the product. Lucky for all of us.
Dave recently received Kennedy Center
honors. He has hosted the Oscars. He is a national treasure and he will surely
be missed. But most importantly, he is following Kripke’s Rule (named after my
former boss Margaret). Leave the party while you are still having fun.
David Letterman is an American original
descended from Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Dick Cavett, Johnny Carson and even a
little Groucho. We have all been lucky to be on the trip with him through Stupid Pet
Tricks, Stupid Human Tricks, jokes about squirrels and their nuts in Central
Park, Donald Trump’s hair, Hillary Clinton’s pants suits, Fun Facts and
enumerable Top Ten lists. It was never a waste of time. And yes, some of the
jokes were funnier in Spanish when Tony the cue card guy told them.
Mostly, it was just plain funny. And I can
assure you after a day on Capitol Hill, Dave was always there to make me laugh
instead of cry.
God bless Dave. Can you imagine him as the
speaker at his son’s graduation? Wouldn’t you love to be there?
The retirement announcement can be found here: http://www.cbs.com