After Johnny Carson's retirement from the show, Jay Leno stepped in as his permanent replacement. The format of the show has remained largely unchanged, consisting primarily of an opening ... See full summary »
Stephen Colbert took over as host, executive producer and writer of THE LATE SHOW on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015. The comedy-variety-talk show is broadcast five nights a week from the Ed Sullivan theater in New York.
After several guest hosting appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Dave was given his own morning talk-show. This show included a full orchestra, news breaks, and a cast of ... See full summary »
David Letterman hosted this popular late-night comedy/talk-show. Often, Dave would go on location or to the phone lines to play pranks. Some famous features of the show include the "Top Ten" lists and "Stupid Pet Tricks" (complete with slow-mo). Fans of the show will also remember Dave's use of unusual camera placements (Sky-Cam, Guest-Cam, etc.) and Dave's supporting cast (Paul Shaffer, Chris Elliott, Larry Bud Melman). Many famous guests and bands appeared on the show.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Letterman displayed his growing verbal virtuosity by calling people on the phone and wringing comedy out of them, or sending remote cameras to places like photo stores and restaurants and starting conversations that somehow presented the mundane as hilarious. Letterman's writers soon discovered that they didn't always have to write material; they could just come up with some goofy premise, drop Dave in the middle of it and watch him fix his brain on it, and turn it into laughs. Merrill Markoe also found strange places for Dave to go for pretaped pieces. They started calling what they were doing "found humor"; it wasn't scripted, it was just Dave finding something funny in whatever situation they placed him in. See more »
People today take for granted the style of humor that is so common today on late night TV. Don't forget that in the 1980's no one was doing that "anything goes", "screw those executive weasels", "hey, it's only TV, let's have some fun" type of show except Letterman. Dave Letterman spawned an entire generation of pale imitators such as Conan and Leno and many others. Letterman showed just how funny remote segments could be if perform with wit and disregard for consequences. Tom Green has only the latter, Leno has neither. Letterman showed that you could do a celebrity interview show without sucking up to the guests and that most celebrities actually have a sense of humor about themselves if given a chance. Letterman also turned the cameras on regular people with no special performance talent, showing that they could be as funny as anyone in the right situation. Chris Elliott and Calvert DeForest are still getting mileage out of their appearances. Fans of the old show will never forget Al Frisch, Jimmy Fitzgerald in "Technician's Corner", Gerard Mulligan, or Chris Elliott as the guy under the seats. No one could have made "Stupid Pet Tricks" and "Stupid Human Tricks" fly like Letterman could because Dave can take any silly situation and improve upon it with his quick wit. That is truly the mark of a great talk show host and no one is better than Dave. I could go on and on about all of the great comedy bits Letterman has done over the years and a couple of them may seem relatively tame by today's standards, but no one has ever improved upon the standard that Dave has set over the last 20 years. His current show isn't as anti-establishment or daring as his NBC show, mainly because there are no more barriers to break down. But the fact remains that if you want to watch a talk show that relies on cleverness and wit as opposed to smarmy pandering or mindless obnoxious behavior, The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS is the only place to go.
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