Saturday, April 12, 2008

Happy birthday, David Letterman.

Here’s to the man who ushered in America’s Age of Irony... the television star who pioneered a new style of conceptual comedy.

David Letterman is 61 years old today.

I found a neat video artifact in the archive of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. It’s a 26-minute slice of Tom Snyder’s old late-night talk show, “Tomorrow.” Letterman, Billy Crystal and Merrill Markoe were Snyder’s guests on this 1978 telecast.

At that point, Letterman was about to be a cast member on Mary Tyler Moore’s variety show. His greatness was ahead of him. But, as you can see below, Letterman’s astringent sense of humor was in full effect at the age of 31.

(Interesting side point: Around 18 minutes into this clip, you’ll notice that Merrill Markoe is censored when she says the word “orgasm.” Keep in mind that Snyder’s show aired at 1 a.m. in the morning. My, how standards have changed in 30 years.)


cnulan said...

sorry to jack, but the audio on that nathaniel coles video on UBM teevee is the SHIZZNIT magne....,

Undercover Black Man said...

I tip my hat to you, Craig, for spotlighting that and other Nat Cole clips.

dj said...

Letterman had such a huge impact on my life and the forrming of my personality,for better or worse.

Before I was exposed to him,I was already the entertainer,clown and people pleaser,but he taught me the fine art of sarcasm,deadpan delivery and one liners that sometimes only make sense to you.

Now people think I am serious when I am joking and think I am joking when I am dead serious.

Thanks Dave!

Making myself laugh is my #1 priority now,anyone else is just bonus.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ His late-night show began when I was an undergraduate. Perfect timing! Letterman around 1981 was really blowing minds.

dj said...

Yes, about Grade 6 was when I started watching regular as I was already a midnight mover by that point,working in the theatre.

MIB said...

I spent many a night in my dorm room watching Letterman push the envelope. AAMOF, I used to watch his morning show and tell my friends about the gags. 'Getting' Letterman so early on was a redemption of sorts against a classmate who had George Carlin down cold.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ The morning show! I wish some of those would turn up on cable or DVD.

Jennifer said...

You'd never know it from her appearance in this clip, but Merrill Markoe was the head writer for Late Night with David Letterman and his girlfriend. On this show I thought they didn't like each other at all.