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Top Ten of Truthiness? - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Top Ten of Truthiness?
I almost posted about Letterman's retirement, and almost used the Colbert icon with it, when the news of just that came out last week. Now that Stephen has been named as the Late Show heir apparent, it's of course even more appropriate.

A generation ago, this would've really mattered to me. I'd become a Carson fan in college, vaguely aware of the Tonight Show as a cultural thing earlier than that, but the early 80s brought my first actual stay-up late nights to learn Carnac, and the Mighty Carson Art Players, and all the other by-play among Johnny, Ed, Doc, Tommy and the couches full of guests.  On my one California visit ever in the winter of 1980, seeing the Tonight Show set at the Burbank studios was a highlight- Bert Parks had just been sacked as the longtime host of the Miss America pageant, and Johnny was in the middle of his "WE WANT BERT" campaign with that slogan on Ed's podium.

In time, we heard about this weird daytime show being put on NBC and hosted by some former Indiana TV weatherman. The David Letterman Show was decades ahead of its time, and lasted barely four months, despite a creative crew that included Dave's longtime girlfriend and comedy soulmate Merrill Markoe and future SNL (and, even later, QI) regular Rich Hall. Everybody wrote it off to being the right show at the wrong time, and the effort led, eventually, to his getting the after-Johnny gig in the NBC late night slot he has held down (give or take an hour) for the past 32 years.

We stayed up later in the late 80s and early 90s, VCRs helping as well, and we fell in love with Dave's post-Carson trappings- Late Night's Top Ten List, Stupid Pet Tricks, Larry "Bud" Melman, Chris Elliott's various outrages, and odd things only we seem to remember, like video of barn owls eating mice to the musical accompaniment of "Tomorrow" from Annie. When Johnny announced his retirement in the early 90s, I was squarely in Dave's camp, and when he ultimately took it on the Chin, I stopped watching and recording NBC at night.

For awhile, we kept up with the new Dave in the new place, but I haven't watched one live in close to 20 years or recorded in almost as long. More recent years have made "clips" of the best late-night bits more accessible outside broadcast hours,  but little other than Conan and (more recently) Fallon actually makes it onto our computer screens. So this announced retirement will likely bring me back to the fold more often for the coming year, and I'll certainly be there live for the final night with Dave, Paul Shaffer (he's right over there, until he, too, rides out with his longtime podner) and all the other trappings of the Ed Sullivan Theatre that their show gave new life to after the post-Carson breakup of the band.


Stephen, I also came to gradually. Not long after joining LJ (10 years ago next week- watch for a smooshy post;), a friend hooked me up with something called Strangers with Candy, a Comedy Central series starring Amy Sedaris but with a rather scary Stephen Colbert in  a lead role, as well.

Not long after discovering him from that, the network spun off his Colbert Report parody from the Daily Show as its own nightly feature, and in May of 2006, I scored tickets to see the Reporr's taping with my best bud mayiwrite There's even photographic evidence of this:

(That's me behind the high-fiver's left shoulder; Maymay and a very hypothetical baby girl are to my left and out of view;)

Stephen has held forth on this bit for the ensuing years, routinely pissing off the right and, occasionally, the left, but he has now been given the second oldest and most legendary comedy time slot in the country, which he intends to perform in as Stephen rather than as "Stephen".

I love them both, and he has Dave's blessing to move forward at that hour on that network. Curious who the sidekick/bandleader will be (and whether it will be one or two people).

So enjoy your final year, Dave and "Stephen."  We'll leave the light on in the Home Office for ya:)

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