Thursday, May 21, 2015

When the David Letterman Show Peaked

I have been getting really sick and tired over the intense coverage of the end of the David Letterman Show. I say good riddance. Like most mainstream media, the show is designed to shift coverage from what the establishment is really up to. Letterman's court jester act never hit at the epicenter of the problem.

Nothing could point more clearly to the establishment influence on the show than the last Letterman show, when of all the damn people in the entire world he could have had on the show, Letterman goes out with appearances from the present and recent leaders of the Empire.

Very disgusting.

The Letterman show peaked in 1987, the last time Harvey Pekar appeared on the show.

Salon sets the scene:
 Out-cranking the notoriously jaded David Letterman is no easy feat — but in 1987, the late-night host found his match in Harvey Pekar, the comic book writer behind the “American Splendor” series.

At least at first, the interview seemed to go off without a hitch. It was Pekar’s second time on the show, so Letterman welcomed him back with praise, observing that he looked and sounded even better than he remembered. “You seem a little more — I dunno — laid back,” he noted. He thanked Pekar for putting an illustration of him on the 14th volume of his comic book series. All seemed well. Either that, or Letterman was doing a great job aggressively ignoring the bold letters on his t-shirt which encouraged workers at General Electric — part of the joint venture holding company NBCUniversal — to go on strike.

The two got to talking about the inner-workings of the industry. Pekar, it turns out, had made a lasting impression with his caustic attitude during his first “Letterman” appearance. Following it, TV execs offered Pekar a shot at a late-night program, much like Letterman’s, but he turned it down faster than it was offered. Letterman wanted to know why, so Pekar gave him a three-pronged explanation: “You get co-opted. You can’t do anything serious. And it’s drag to go on night after night doing simple-minded bullshit.”

Following the commercial break is when things really started to derail. Pekar apparently was struck with a second wind during the break, and returned to the subject of co-opting with a new, fiery energy. It soon became very clear as Pekar spoke, that that he had a very specific example of a network in mind when he gave his reasons for not wanting to have a late-night show. You guessed it — NBC.

Pekar then began ripping into Bob Wright, president of General Electric at the time.

Pekar: “You’re always making these lil’ cute remarks about GE but there’s a reason that people should be watching GE real close that don’t have nothin’ to do with Robert Wright’s toilet habits. And I want to tell you about that stuff … No wait, I’m serious. Number 1, they’re being sued in Ohio because they sold these nuclear reactors around the country …”

Letterman: ”Harvey, Harvey. This is really bad manners. This is very, very inappropriate.”

Pekar: ”I don’t care.”

Letterman: ”Do I come to where you work and badmouth the Veterans Association?”

Pekar: “…they have a long history of ant-trust violations.”

Letterman: “Again, Harvey. Let me interrupt you. Not so much out of defense of General Electric. I just feel like this is not the forum for this kind of discussion. See, if you had your own talk show you could talk about this stuff on your talk show.”

(cuts to commercial break)

Letterman: ”Harvey, I am going to ask you something.”

Pekar: ”I’m just doin’ my thing!”

Letterman: “No. You’re a guest in my house so shut the fuck up. You show up to my house and you sneeze in the hors d’oeuvres.”
Pekar is just slightly off on the evils of his target GE, but close enough, especially on the co-opting of such shows like Letterman's, that it has to be considered a heroic moment on television.

And as for Letterman raising the point that Pekar sneezed in Letterman's house in the hors d'oeuvres, Letterman has a point only when we are talking about private property that is not tied very closely to the evil Empire, When we are dealing with the evil Empire, we have to take our shots when we can get them. Hell, I'd even sneeze in the hors d'oeuvres at the New York Fed.

Here's Pekat. This is great, enjoy:




  1. I admit that Ive never watched a single episode of Letterman

  2. Well said. Letterman's show was much better on NBC in the '80s when he had guests like Pikar and Andy Kaufman. I turned on his show last week and watched him torch Tom Brady for 10 minutes before bringing out the great role model Bill Clinton to do a suck up interview. Pathetic. Leno, who had Ron Paul on as a guest multiple times and made fun of Obama, was much better.

  3. Cue Fred Astaire: "That's Entertainment!"!
    Nice edgy stuff. Boy, Letterman was really upset that he was dissin' the bosses. So much for artistic freedom.

  4. The only time I saw Letterman was back in 2011 when he had Rand on. It was during the Wisconsin teacher vs Scott Walker period. Letterman claimed that public schooling was so great that teachers deserved all the money they get and more. Wish Rand would have asked him which public school Letterman's son attended.

  5. I'm having trouble remembering who David Letterman was. Maybe it's because he was on TV. I don't remember much about TV. I think I used to watch TV when I was young, but that was a long time ago. I was old by the time anyone ever mentioned Letterman to me.

    Man, am I ever out of touch.

  6. I always thought Letterman was a self important snob myself, he also appeared to think he was much more funny and witty than he actually was.

    The two comments Pekar made in this interview that seemed the most biting to me:

    1. The comment he made to the audience that Letterman has scorn for them.
    2. The comment that Letterman doesn't read books.

    I'll bet both are true.