Why I’m a Letterman Guy

There are two kinds of people in the world: Letterman people and Leno people.

Jay Leno is a funny guy, and he has bits that make me chuckle, but I mourn where he’s taken The Tonight Show from what it once was. This television tradition now feels like a bowl of bland jello, and it remains to be seen if Conan O’Brien will be able to restore any of its former glory.

David Letterman, to me, is the heir to the great lineage of talk show tradition. It’s ironic, because in his NBC days he was seen as the reckless young agitator, but today he is the elder statesman. Though he’s taken on a more conventional role in some ways, he’s now in a position where he doesn’t have to care what other people say or do.

If you need any evidence that Letterman is at the top of his game, witness the train wreck that was last night’s interview with Joaquin Phoenix. In one of the most bizarre and uncomfortable moments ever seen on television, you can observe Letterman at the beginning of the interview almost debating whether or not to swoop in for the kill on this actor who is obviously just completely gone. It doesn’t take Dave long to decide, what the hell, I’m going for it.

Check out the full interview below, and this page has other great moments from Letterman’s past that have him serving as ringmaster for some mind-bogglingly odd television moments.

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Steve Danuser, also known as Moorgard, is a a writer, editor, and game designer.

10 thoughts on “Why I’m a Letterman Guy”

  1. I think Phoenix is either 1) totally friggin’ bonkers or 2) playing an elaborate joke on everyone.

    Either way, Letterman was fantastic and if it was a joke he played it up like a pro.

    Jason (resident drunken idiot of Channel Massive)

  2. New link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXpYk7WGN5Y

    Now, as far as I’m concerned, the only difference is that Leno doesn’t actively get people who are obviously going through some mental/social/personal changes and isn’t really there. I don’t like the uneasiness of it all and would rather not publicize the family member who’s not all there.

  3. Thanks for the new link, cgoodno.

    If it turns out to be a hoax, then the question becomes whether Letterman was in on it. If he was, then both he and Phoenix deserve Emmys for that appearance, because it was spectacular.

  4. I have to agree that i think this is an Andy Kaufman style prank…although, given the very serious history of the Phoenix family (cults, drug over dose, abuse, etc.) I think Joaquin is going to be able to play the crazy card for a long time in this gag.

    I hate to admit it, but I can’t wait to see what he does next. Andy Kaufman said:

    “Pure entertainment is not an egotistical lady singing boring songs onstage for two hours and people in tuxes clapping whether they like it or not. It`s the real performers on the street who can hold people`s attention and keep them from walking away. ”

    I hope this turns out to be a joke (so I won’t feel bad about laughing at a crazy young guy), but either way I’m not going to be able to keep my eyes off this train wreck.

  5. I am sorry but neither Leno nor Letterman are in the same league as the true master. Johnny Carson had the timing, the lightening quick response and the velvet glove touch. Watch some of the old tapes. He still has you laughing.

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