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Top 10 Times David Letterman Made Right-Wingers Look Like Idiots

May 17, 2015 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

The comedy genius had a knack for calling bullshit on conservatives who ventured onto his show.

It’s been hard to write or say anything about David Letterman’s impending retirement that doesn't sound like hagiography. This is a man who was my comedy hero in first grade and remains my comedy hero to this day; a famous person who is probably more responsible for the kinds of things I find funny than anyone I’ve ever met in real life. There have been roughly a bajillion adulatory pieces written about Letterman since he announced he was retiring a little over a year ago, and every single one of them was deserved. Because for more than 30 years, Letterman has been just that goddamn good.

To tick off a (very incomplete) list of things he brought to late-night television is to run down an inventory of groundbreaking and often half-baked ideas that ultimately made comedy goofier, weirder, cooler, and above all, funnier. Pets and humans did brilliantly stupid tricks. Random objects were thrown off five-story buildings. Man-on-the-street interviews took surreal and bizarre turns. Top Ten Lists became cultural reference points. Letterman put a camera on a monkey’s back and then put the monkey on roller skates and let him coast around the studio, because why the fuck not? That thing where you tell a joke until it’s not funny anymore, and then keep telling it until it’s funny again? Letterman basically invented that. He made awkward oddballs like Biff Henderson and Larry Bud Melman (R.I.P.) featured players. Rock bands no one had heard of were booked by the Letterman show before other shows realized it was a cool thing to do. Letterman's repartee with Teri Garr in the 1980s, Sandra Bernhard in the '90s and Amy Sedaris in the oughts remains unmatched. You can draw a line straight from Letterman to Fey, Stewart, Colbert and O’Brien, and to 30 Rock, Mr. Show and Tim & Eric. In his early years, people said they didn’t like him because he was acerbic, sarcastic, ironic and smug—which, coincidentally, were the same reasons people gave for loving …read more


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