Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Stupid Fan Tricks - A David Letterman Fansite
segment of the week

ZZsegment
HOME
TOUPEE NEWS | LETTERFACTS | NIGHTLY RATINGS | SEGMENT OF THE WEEK | EDITORIALS
CAPTION CONTEST | LETTERFACTS CONTEST | TOP TEN CONTEST | DAVE SAYS | LS TIMES ARCHIVE
OTHER STUPID STUFF | SITE HISTORY | STAFF/CONTACT | MESSAGE BOARD | CHAT ROOM | LINKS

segstor

Once you think about it, it's pretty cool having your own weekly column. No, not the actual writing part because, let's face it, that gets tedious. What's really awesome is trying to gauge what your audience's reaction will be. It's the excitement you feel when you come up with an exceptionally funny joke or the perfect reference or when you're able to tackle a subject in a surprising or unexpected manner. It's kind of like you being a mad scientist, rubbing your hands together, laughing maniacally: "Bwah, ha, ha. If this monster works, I shall be a GENIUS. If I should fail, it's back to the old drawing board."

After today, it really won't be back to the old drawing board. In fact, this is my final column for STUPIDFANTRICKS. I have had a blast these past few months. Thanks to all of you for putting up with my various Dave-related rants and ramblings. Kudos to grand webmaster Matt for A) creating such a classy site and B) giving me space to blather and spew on a weekly basis.(Man, you still have time to change your mind about closing down the joint).

But most of all, I'd like to thank the big guy himself, truly the most powerful man in broadcasting.

Some moments are forever etched in our memories. Our first kiss, our first bike, the first time we saw David Letterman. As I rub my chin, the scene becomes all blurry:

FLASHBACK:

I was ten years old the first time I saw LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN. It was the summer of '82. He did one of his classic LATE NIGHT New Gift Ideas segments. On that particular night, he demonstrated the infamous Lotion-in-a-Drawer, the fetching Zero Gravity Hat, the limited edition Cheap Floozies of World International Doll Set (The U.S.A.'s Carnival Midway Girl, the Hong Kong Bar-Fly, the Amstedam Novelty Shop Clerk, and the Jet Set's own St. Tropez Trash) and of course, the Giant Doorknob ("In Mexico, it's El Knob Grande. Here in the U.S., we call it the Giant Phony Doorknob, and it's a panic. The oversized jumbo knob is much larger than it oughta be-in fact, IT'S JUST PLAIN BIG!")

After that night, I knew I was hooked. Dave has played a part in my turbulent teenage years, my decadent college years, and now, my obsessive compulsive 'grown up' life. No matter where I was, no matter what I was doing, through good times and bad, he's been my nightly fix.

For a short period of time, the E! Channel carried reruns of the old NBC show. And their commercials had a tag line slogan that I think is incredibly appropriate: "It's more than just a TV show, it's a nightly cry for help." I always like that.

A few years ago, Pete Hamill wrote a book explaining WHY SINATRA MATTERS. It was his thesis that if you were able to get beyond all of the superficial trappings of Frank: the duds, the dudes, the dames, the Rat Pack, the clap trap, the clap, gams, gats, Gambinos, whatever. What you were left with was a whole lot of beautiful music. Everything else was just a whole lot of Hey-Hey and you could tell them Jilly sent ya.  What truly mattered was the fact the boy could sing and swing like an angel.  

Am I going to compare the Chairman of the Board with the Most Powerful Man in Show Business? No. Even a committed Frank-o-phile like Paul Shaffer knows that's apples and oranges. Sinatra manufactured an image of himself as a hard living, hard loving, two fisted swinger. It was all a ruse to cover up his warm, gooey romantic side. He could sing a love song that could break your heart because, indeed, his heart had been broken. But as a tough guy, he was strictly a poser, a wannabe Tough Guy.

Dave Letterman, America's Cynic Laureate, might be considered a wannabe Wise Guy. Let's face facts: Dave's never been considered what one would consider a warm and fuzzy type of guy. He holds his audience at arms length and loves to jokingly paint himself as a reclusive misanthrope with no life outside of work. The Master of detached irony, the uber outsider. Yet he was the first one out of the box after 9/11. He was the one who flew to Kandahar for Christmas Eve with cigars, 5,000 T-shirts, Paul and Biff (and absolutely no video cameras). For someone who has been derided for being cool, detached, and aloof, the guy shows a lot of heart.

"We know the show is tired; it's the same crap night after night. But here's the thing: We just don't care!" -Dave Letterman.

Au Contraire, Dave.

Although he's regularly (and shockingly) trounced in the ratings by Jay Leno's increasingly dumbed down, humor free, carny minded TONIGHT SHOW, he refuses to pander to the lowest common denominator. Fueled by his own determination that TV should be better and unwilling to blunt his own hard edge, Dave's succeeded in creating comedy that is both comforting and audacious. Critic Ken Tucker, in a somewhat infamous SALON profile called Letterman "the Leon Trotsky of Talk: The Last Late Night Revolutionary." Now, I like Jimmy Kimmel but I can't picture anyone`comparing him with Trotsky.

Simply put, David Letterman IS Johnny Carson's equal. He doesn't just preside over a talk show, he's created an hour that feels like nothing else around it. The LATE SHOW is a mood and an attitude; it makes you feel like you're part of a big in-joke going on at the expense of authority figures and the 'colossal boobs' the whole world over. He makes you feel like you're part of an exclusive club, Cap't Dave's Komedy Klubhouse, where it's just you and a couple million of your closest friends.

Letterman gave an old reliable TV format (late night talk) a kick in the head with a sense of humor more attuned to SNL and Monty Python than it was to Vegas and the Catskills. He made the world a safe place for irony and for fellow smartasses like me.

I first saw Letterman in 1982. He must have been already comfy cozy even back then, hiding behind his patented armor of flipness. But he grew up and matured both as a broadcaster and as a person. Despite his frequent (and funny) jibs at CBS, he has been an exemplary team captain for his second network. He's still a pest when he wants to be (Oprah, she's got all the money) but age has brought out both a graciousness in him and allowed him to reveal the hidden side of him, the humanity.

To other comics, that may be the kiss of death. But Dave is just as acerbic, bitter, and persnickety as all get out. The David Letterman that I witnessed as an impressionable ten year old was pretty damn cool. But the David Letterman of today has become TV's most beloved surly bastards.               

Cheers,

Xander

SEND XANDER YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT THIS OR ANY OTHER ARTICLE HE HAS WRITTEN

FILE UNDER: WRITTEN BY XANDER

DAVE IS SO MONEY, BABY

THE LATE SHOW MVP'S

DAVID LETTERMAN: LADIES MAN

TAKING IT ON THE CHIN

HIT ME WITH THE DIGITS

CONFESSIONS OF A DORKY MIND

WORDS OF WISOM FROM DR. DAVE

LATE NIGHT DAVE VS. LATE SHOW DAVE

A BOX OF PARTS





















stupid fan tricks - stay up and laugh