Make Time For An Old Friend

05.20.10 8 years ago 11 Comments

In recent times we’ve been reminded many times, by many people, and and for good reason, that Jay Leno is awful. This sentiment is dovetailed with the sentiment that Conan O’Brien is awesome. And he is, sort of.

But the lesson that many of us have forgotten to take away is how good David Letterman is at his craft. I don’t watch him all that much, and when I do, I don’t laugh at him all that much, but I’d argue that he has more and better presence than any other contemporary talk show host. O’Brien and Jon Stewart, to take two examples, rely heavily on the “tell a joke you know isn’t funny and then ridicule yourself” gimmick.Letterman doesn’t need to do this. Watch him as he delivers his false account of Lost. The material itself is nothing, but it doesn’t need to be anything, because Letterman’s delivery takes care of everything.

A friend once told me that watching Jimmy Kimmel rip into Jay Leno was kind of like “watching your smart-ass uncle bitch out your racist grandfather.” In a sense, it’s right on target, and I suppose that in this scenario, David Letterman is your bemused aunt, making lemon squares in the kitchen: unassuming, folksy, friendly, and kind of bored.

Anyway. If you don’t share my appreciation of Letterman, hopefully you can appreciate Ben Linus’ admittedly funny cameo, as well as the producers of Lost being stood up and made to weakly self-deprecate. Smell you later, dudes! Go off and write a best-selling novel in which you kill off your characters, then bring them back with time travel, then kill them again, then bring them back through flashbacks, then kill them again, only to bring them back via MAGIC, and in the process, kill off everything that makes the concept of death an interesting storytelling element. I will recommend it to my friends and family!

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