Sunday, May 24, 2015

Final episode of "Late Night with David Letterman", May 20th, 2015

It is possible that my recollections of Carson's final Tonight Show, twenty-three years ago, are inaccurate. Did he show any clips? Were there any taped bits of celeb's or presidents or anybody sending Johnny off with a gag or a tribute or a good-bye or anything like that? If there was any of that stuff I don't remember it. All I recall is Johnny sitting on a stool center stage, very low key, less "on" than usual, reminiscing and thanking everybody in a very genuine, human way. I guess maybe I was expecting something more like that from Dave's final show, which I guess was sort of an unrealistic expectation. But anyway, I'm not complaining or criticizing. I could not have enjoyed the final episode of "Late Night with David Letterman" (aka "The Late Show with David Letterman") more than I did. Very, very funny stuff. And this is a truly epic event in the history of television. A real "end of an era" no doubt about it. The appearances by the presidents in the opening and then all the big A-list celeb's doing the Top Ten List couldn't have been more appropriate. The clips were hilarious, although of course I would've preferred to see more of the NBC stuff. And then that final hyper speed clip package, with the Foo Fighters rocking live, was the best such thing I've ever seen put together. In fact, I even got a bit emotional as the old early '80's clips flew past. I LOVED Dave's show when I was in high school and college.  

So anyway, that's that. Like I said before, I've watched him more than a handful of times this century, but it was still somehow a comfort to know that he was still on the air. A link to my youth. A link to the days when I used to watch, and enjoy, a lot more TV. It's interesting to me to contrast the similarities to when Johnny quit in '92, Carson had been doing the show since before I was born ---- he had simply ALWAYS BEEN ON for me. When he ended his 30 year run I was in my mid-twenties.

With Letterman, by contrast, I actually started watching him within months of the first episode of "Late Night", when I was in high school, so I can actually remember when he was THE BRAND NEW GUY, doing something completely wild and new and different. Now, 33 years later, he's been copied ad nauseam (literally, I assure you), he's an institution, he's nearly 70 and I'm nearly 50.

Anyway, I guess I don't have anything terribly profound to say about it. These last three blog posts have just been my observations, my random thoughts and opinions. Methinks that I may very well now forget about "Throwing the Ball to Naturally" for another years or more.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Letterman's second to last show (Tuesday, May 19th, 2015)

Okay, the second to last episode of Letterman's show was a great hour of television. That's my opinion anyway, but then I'm feeling mighty sentimental and nostalgic and am also a big fan of both Bill Murray and Bob Dylan.

Murray has always put a lot into his Letterman appearances. He's a funny, funny guy. But then I hardly need to inform the interweb of that fact, huh? Dylan's performance of "The Night We Called it a Day" (appropriate sentiment, eh?) was positively epic. And Dave didn't inject any obnoxious and condescending political perspective into the comedy, so that was obviously another huge plus.

Like I said above, I thought it was a great hour of TV and I really enjoyed it, but then I should probably amend that opinion with the disclosure that I rarely watch any TV any more, except for the news, and some programming aimed at very young children, and occasionally (though not anywhere near often enough) some of my old fav's that I have in my oh-so-slowly-growing DVD collection, such as for example the classic comedies of Laurel & Hardy on the DVD set "Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection", which I purchased a few years ago. A Google search leads me to believe that it was released in 2011. I was going to guess more recently. Maybe it had been out a couple years before I got it? I thought I got it pretty soon after it was released. Maybe not. I really need to get my hands on the DVD of the Python reunion. But I digress.

One more episode of "Late Night" to go. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Letterman's third to last show (Monday, May 18th, 2015)

When I first started watching "Late Night with David Letterman" it had only been on the air for a few months. Amazingly fresh and hilarious it was, and I watched it regularly throughout the early and mid eighties. Throughout the nineties I guess I gradually watched it less and less often, and I'd estimate that this century I've seen it probably less than half a dozen times. But on those occasions when I have watched the 21st century broadcasts, or checked out recent clips on Youtube, I've been struck by how tired and cranky and just going-through-the-motions Dave has seemed. And then there have been the embarrassingly cringe inducing political jokes and ramblings I've seen. When I see him adopting that grotesque and dishonest "Gee whiz I'm just a simple guy but it just seems clear even to a bumpkin like me that blah blah blah blah" thing I seriously feel ill with embarrassment for him.

But anyway, this is the final week of his show, and I've got to say that those episodes of the early years of "Late Night" were some of the most enjoyable television viewing I've ever had, and I'm a sentimental guy, particularly when it comes to "end of an era" sort of events like the Monty Python reunion last year and now Letterman heading out to pasture this year, so I feel obligated to watch this week, and then I just remembered this blog that I started and thought I was going to do something with but never did, so I thought I'd write some observations here. And here they are: *ahem* . . . Regarding his THIRD TO LAST EPISODE: His opening jokes were as tired as I expected. And he even dove into the political stuff. He said that Jeb Bush (who, I think, has announced that he's running for prez in 2016, I think?) recently said that "if gay people are allowed to marry then the next thing you know women will want the right to vote". Do you think that's anywhere close to funny? In this age of a million and one clowns and assholes spouting on talk radio and 24 hour cable news, not to mention online, trying to be oh-so-clever with precisely that exact stupid line, do you really think it's funny when Letterman says it on his late night talk show?

So anyway, then Tom Hanks came on and I found their chit-chat pretty boring, which caused me to ponder ------ if this was still nineteen eighty-something and Tom and Dave were chatting about "Bachelor Party" or "Splash" I know that I'd be finding it fascinating and hilarious. So what's changed? Me? Or Hanks and Letterman? I honestly don't know. Maybe I just don't give much of a damn about celebrities and their show biz anecdotes anymore. Or maybe those guys are just old and jaded and boring and fake nowadays? Like I said, I pondered it but I really and truly and honestly don't know.

Actually, during the second half of the interview I did loosen up and started to chuckle and enjoy it. And then Eddie Vedder wrapped up the show performing that "can't find a better man" song. I've never really been a fan of Pearl Jam or Vedder, but I thought it was a great performance. I will catch the second to final show. And final show. And, unless the existence of this blog completely slips out of my thoughts, I will post something 'bout those.