TV Junkie: An Appeal To David Letterman - WTF Dude?
Last night's "Late Show With David Letterman" was pretty disappointing as Letterman's primary guest was former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld is someone that Letterman mined for jokes for several years until the sheer criminality of the Bush administration was too disgusting to joke about anymore. Those days were treated as water under the bridge as Letterman joked with Rumsfeld about mules and why they were sterile. The only serious questions posed to Rumsfeld were those about the turmoil in the Middle East and Africa to which Rumsfeld's reply was to "look at Lebanon, where the result was Hezbollah" - a point that Letterman didn't question; the other topic touched was the protests in Wisconsin where, again, Letterman didn't question Rumsfeld's opinion that Wisconsin's Governor was right in his push to squash unions.
I've been watching less and less of Letterman over the past couple years as its been difficult to witness his show enter a spiral of mediocrity and un-funny-ness. When I have tuned in, it was to catch a guest or performer that I knew would be entertaining, instead of relying on the show itself to provide laughs and entertainment. A couple weeks ago Letterman hinted to guest Howard Stern that he would be done hosting "in a couple years." Dave, I grew up watching you, you were someone I adored, you had the most cutting-edge show on TV at one time, I was shattered when you didn't get "The Tonight Show," I was elated when you started "The Late Show," I prayed for you when you had your heart surgery, and I stuck with you through the whole intern-schtupping business. How about finishing out these last couple years on a high note? Challenge your writing staff and/or get some new (and probably younger) writers in that room.
Also, please don't abandon your principles. Three or four years ago, you would have loved to put some hard questions to Donald Rumsfeld, a demagogue that would probably be indicted as a war criminal if he wasn't from the United States. Rumsfeld was America's Tariq Aziz, an obfuscator, a manipulator of the facts, an outright liar, and an eager participant in the creation and execution of criminal policies that will haunt America for decades to come - and you joked with him about mules, repeatedly.
I'm not even going to go into taking apart your monologue and your tried and true (aka stale) standard bits, or the shit you do with Paul. Your time with Rumsfeld put all that other stuff into even more stark perspective. Give me a reason to keep watching you? I desperately need one.
Dave, if you can't end on a high note, with some great jokes and a backbone, then perhaps you should consider shortening your remaining tenure. You're making it difficult to hold onto the happy memories I had of you and the show you created. I know you've got it in you, c'mon man.