Thursday, March 5, 2009

Single Topic Thursday - An Appreciation of late night television

Single topic Thursday is a chance to take a theme/topic/word/etc. and expand on it a bit more - more than one simple post. We'll see how it goes, and whether it gains any traction.

Today's topic:

Late Night Television

Dive in on the flip side...

I have a special place in my heart for late night talk shows. While it's hip and cool to say you're a night owl (versus being an early morning riser) it's also true for me. I hate the morning. You can ask pretty much anyone who has to deal with with me in the morning.

I also love TV. And when you put those two things together, you get late night television. And growing up in the late 80s, it meant one thing: David Letterman.

The perfect muddy, anything goes yang to Carson's detached, professional ying, watching Letterman's show sent a charge through your body. Anything could (and oftentimes did) happen. From the mundane to the sublime. From the (literally) stupid to the brilliant. But the best part of it was you never knew what you were going to get from show to show, and it was always a surprise. Where Carson was slick, sharp and subtle, Letterman was brash, brutal and biting.

I remember forcing myself to stay up for his monologue at the very least, causing me to be a zombie in school the next morning. But I didn't care, because Letterman was creating fresh, original programming that seemed to be specifically for me.

And regardless of whether a bit seemed to work or not, you could always count on Dave to make it funny.

Letterman also gave me my first taste of Chris Elliot, who won an Emmy writing on Late Night.

When Letterman was rumored to be leaving for the Tonight Show, and the whole weird late night "wars" between him, NBC and Jay Leno, a little part of me knew the genius of the show would be gone. 11:30 is a different beast than 12:30, and it seemed Letterman wanted to move away from the lunacy and craziness that made me love his show so much. While I still love Dave and always will consider him my favorite, I'm still a little nostalgic for those 80s shows I grew up with.

Up next: A man named Conan...

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Thanks for the awesome Chris Elliot video.