Letterman’s departure was 15 years too late

Letterman’s departure was 15 years too late

In 1980, a comedy ice age was ending. The lumbering mastodons were dying out, the tundra was cracking open and perfect little daisies of coolness were popping up.

On NBC, there was this wild, anarchic morning show like nothing my friends and I had ever seen. Summers were notorious televised wastelands then. There was absolutely nothing for us kids all summer long except excruciating, unwatchable soap operas. Nobody had a VCR yet. There was nothing to watch. It was an emergency. We were all forced to exit our houses and go grumbling into the sunshine and swimming pools.

“The David Letterman Show” changed all that. It was completely bizarre. It wasn’t like all those boring, sincere, simpering self-improvement programs aimed at our moms (like “Today”). This was comedy anarchy. The show seemed to be mocking the idea of doing a show in the first place. Like “Caddyshack,” which came out a few weeks later, it tore into boring, irony-challenged authority figures.

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