Late-night legend David Letterman’s ugly personality no laughing matter, former colleagues say

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS’)

Late-night legend David Letterman’s ugly personality no laughing matter, former colleagues say

Late-night funnyman David Letterman was hardly a barrel of laughs off the air.A new biography of the now-retired talk show host portrays Letterman as more self-loathing than self-critical — and an often miserable man who inflicted his pain on his staff.

“He was never truly comfortable unless he was seething with unhappiness at something,” one longtime writer told author Jason Zinoman in “Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night.”

In fact, few of the acerbic Letterman’s close colleagues sang his praises to Zinoman.

Deli sandwich named for Stephen Colbert ahead of ‘Late Show’

Letterman’s demeanor soured after July 1995, when his CBS front-running program dipped to second place behind “The Tonight Show” with former friend-turned-enemy Jay Leno.

Letterman infamously sucked on a strand of Jennifer Aniston's hair.

Letterman infamously sucked on a strand of Jennifer Aniston’s hair.

(CBS)

Viewers flipped to NBC when Leno landed an interview with actor Hugh Grant, fresh off his arrest for soliciting a hooker improbably named Divine Brown.

Many never returned, curdling Letterman’s on-air persona.

He became more openly caustic as his comedy took a sadistic turn. One night, after his “Late Show” was whipped in the ratings by both “The Tonight Show” and “Nightline,” his rage visibly surfaced.

What Stephen Colbert can do better on ‘Late Show’

A comedy bit called for a life-size Letterman doll to sit in the guest’s chair. Seemingly on the spur of the moment, Letterman punched the doll — to much audience laughter.

The laughs continued as he landed a few more blows. And then the 580-seat theater went silent when Letterman fell into a frenzy of punching and slapping his plastic alter ego.

Obviously, something was wrong with Dave.

“People don’t understand why you’re behaving the way you’re behaving,” said Rob Burnett, a trusted colleague and the head of Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company, in a candid chat with his boss.

Stephen Colbert has to deal with ghosts on ‘Late Show’

Letterman’s anger wasn’t all directed inward, and he became upset with pretty much everyone on the show.

A retired Letterman sporting a fierce beard.

A retired Letterman sporting a fierce beard.

(SPLASH NEWS/SPLASH NEWS)

Burnett returned as executive producer, but things became strained. His unique ability to manage his boss’ dark moods ended with a “falling-out,” according to Burnett.

Their relationship eroded to the point where they were barely speaking. According to a veteran producer, “everything changed after that.”

A veteran staffer who served under Letterman through both his late-night shows observed that getting close to the boss was perilous: “There comes a moment when he turns on you.”

David Letterman donating ‘Late Show’ props to Ball State

The tale of Tim Long, one of several head writers hired during the show’s run, was typical. Unable to deal with the host’s constant rejections and dark moods, Long took to chewing Coke cans — and swallowing pieces of tin.

Not Released (NR)

Competitor Jay Leno leapt to fame after viewers flipped to watch his interview with actor Hugh Grant, fresh off a prostitution sting. Letterman lost a chunk of viewers to Leno and his more affable personality.

(GETTY IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES)

Even the famously mellow Paul Shaffer lashed out at Letterman one night when Todd Rundgren sat in with the band.

Letterman kept pushing and needling, trying to get Rundgren to do more than the one number done in rehearsal.

“The cat flies in to do us a favor and you just want what you want,” Shaffer yelled at his boss.

Richard Simmons’ wildest ‘David Letterman Show’ moments

It embarrassed Shaffer so much the moment was cut from the show before airing, even though Letterman said he was fine with it.

Not Released (NR)

Letterman chatted with racing icon Mario Andretti before the start of the 2007 Indy 500.

(MICHAEL HICKEY/WIREIMAGE)

The irony: Letterman was miserable even when his ratings put the show at No. 1 in late-night viewers. In 1993, he walked away from NBC after the network chose Leno to succeed Johnny Carson, taking the 11:30 p.m. slot on rival CBS for his “Late Show With David Letterman.”

CBS offered Letterman a then-record deal with a $16 million annual salary. The payoff was immediate as Letterman seized the ratings lead against the once-invincible “Tonight.”

Yet Letterman remained miserable. “He always complained from the very beginning,” recalled one producer.

Top 10 Things David Letterman Looks Like

Things went downhill from there.

Not Released (NR)

Letterman appeared alongside girlfriend Merrill Markoe during a 1982 photo shoot.

(GEORGE ROSE/GETTY IMAGES)

“It got worse when he went to CBS,” recalled Shaffer. “Any flaw, minor flaw, he exaggerated. He was most uncomfortable at No. 1.”

Comic Rich Hall, a writer for Letterman’s NBC show, was floored by the host’s new, abrasive nature when he appeared as a guest. Hall followed actress Andie MacDowell, who had just flopped in her segment. Before the cameras came on, Letterman leaned over and snarled, “How’d you like to be married to that c—?”

What the author calls Letterman’s “ferocious fear of failure” was there from the first.

‘The David Letterman Show’ debuts on NBC in 1980

The feeling of foreboding was exacerbated by the 1980 cancellation of his NBC morning show, “The David Letterman Show,” within months of its debut.

Barbara Walters appeared on Letterman's "Late Show."

Barbara Walters appeared on Letterman’s “Late Show.”

(CBS)

His girlfriend at the time and for years to come, Merrill Markoe, was a brilliantly inventive comedy writer and instrumental in shaping the show.

Markoe, who rarely comments on Letterman publicly, told the author about the resulting fallout.

“If it weren’t for you and your crazy ideas,” Letterman shouted at her on the street, “I’d still have a talk show like John Davidson!”

David Letterman is hypochondriac, new book claims

It’s a comment funny only in retrospect.

Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer.

Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer.

(SUSAN RAGAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Markoe became head writer on NBC’s “Late Night With David Letterman” from the first show in 1982 — and suffered for that, too.

Every night after the show, an agonized Letterman would lock himself in his office with Markoe.

“The last 10 months have included a nightly discussion about what a failure we are,” she once noted.

David Letterman debuts bearded retirement look in St. Barts

In those days, the acid-tongued Letterman would hang out, trading barbs with the writers. His targets learned not to return in kind, as the hurt would show on Letterman’s face.

17052

Letterman shakes hands with late-night predecessor Johnny Carson.

(STEVE FRIEDMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

“He was very sensitive,” says Barbara Gaines, a producer who remained with Letterman until his 2015 retirement.

By the end of the ’80s, Letterman was the king of hip and cool. He now smoked cigars and assumed “a statelier air.” Notably, he no longer made a show of despising celebrities, as he had for a decade.

When Barbara Walters booked him as a guest interview on one of her specials, he walked around the office openly expressing his admiration for her.

David Letterman takes on President Trump, late night show hosts

“What happened, Dave?” asked head writer Steven O’Donnell.

4358

Letterman at a 1982 NBC reception honoring the announcement of his show.

(AP)

“They are like my peers now,” the host told him.

It was during that era that Letterman started abruptly turning on longtime, trusted colleagues. Barry Sand, a producer and ally since the morning show, suddenly could do nothing right.

After a guest canceled at the last minute, Sand scrambled and was able to book Mel Gibson — then at the height of his fame. Letterman turned on the producer and snarled, “Who the hell wants Mel Gibson? I don’t want Mel Gibson.”

Letterman: ‘I was wrong,’ Trump is racist

He opted instead for Kamarr the Discount Magician. Sand was soon gone.

Letterman in a 1984 promotional photo.

Letterman in a 1984 promotional photo.

(SUSAN WOOD/GETTY IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES)

In the rush of his success, the formerly prudish Letterman switched up his persona, booking “leggy supermodels” as frequent and welcome guests.

The phrase “leggy supermodels” was funny, but Letterman’s leers came off as sincere and appreciative.

Boorish advances became his signature. Sitting next to Jerry Hall, whose breasts exploded from her dress, he openly enjoyed the view.

David Letterman returning to TV on climate change series

“I get the awful feeling I may have overinflated my tires,” quipped Letterman.

Letterman announced his new CBS contract in a 1993 press conference.

Letterman announced his new CBS contract in a 1993 press conference.

(ALEX BRANDON/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

On one cringeworthy show, he sucked on a strand of Jennifer Aniston’s hair.

Zinoman writes that after a time, the satire faded away to show the bits for what they were — a rich and famous man indulging his fantasies.

“As he got older, Letterman increasingly played the horny creep,” he writes.

David Letterman ‘would have gone right after Donald Trump’

By the time he was an eminence grise on CBS, he became “crudely sexual” in his interviews. The camera would slowly pan over the legs of Aniston or Gwen Stefani as he delivered lascivious comments.

Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night

Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night

“He seemed like a pervy old man at times,” says one of his head writers, Eric Stangel.

Even before the 2009 scandal when an affair with an assistant exposed Letterman to an extortion try, the host interacted infrequently with most of the show staff.

The only trusted colleagues were those who had worked with Letterman for decades — at least, those left standing.

David Letterman thinks a woman should’ve been ‘Late Show’ host

Letterman just couldn’t bring himself to talk to people.

It seems, though, that after a year and a half in retirement, Letterman is now eager to chat.

In an interview with New York magazine, Letterman claims his son, Harry, 13, doesn’t like being in public with him.

Not because of his snow-white mountain man beard, but because he talks too much to everyone.

Letterman says he’ll fake his death if Rahal doesn’t win Indy 500

Letterman might have been kidding. Or not.

Tags:
DAVID LETTERMAN
BOOKS

Send a Letter to the Editor

Bill Murray Accepts Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME AND THE WASHINGTON POST)

Bill Murray Accepts Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize Honors Bill Murray
Leigh Vogel—Getty ImagesBill Murray arrives at the Kennedy Center where the actor received the 19th Annual Mark Twain Prize on Oct. 23, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Gala awards ceremony featured speeches from Emma Stone and David Letterman

Actor Bill Murray became the 19th person to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at a star-studded ceremony in Washington on Sunday, where friends and colleagues paid tribute to his long comedic career.

In the ceremony at the Kennedy Center, Murray’s fellow Saturday Night Live alumni Jane Curtin and Bill Hader were among those who celebrated the actor’s achievements, along with musical performances by Miley Cyrus and Rhiannon Giddens, the Washington Post reported. Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel paid homage to Murray’s eccentric personality, with Kimmel noting that, “To Bill, life is a party, the world is an improv stage, and we are all in his show.”

Murray, who has starred in classic comedies such as Groundhog Day and was critically acclaimed for his roles in Lost in Translation and St. Vincent,famously doesn’t have an agent or representation, and provides an 800 number for those who wish to send him scripts.

The award ceremony was well-timed for Murray, a Chicago Cubs fan. “I’m glad they won last night so I could be here this evening,” Murray joked, the New York Times reports. “If they hadn’t won last night I would have had to have been there, because, honestly, I do not trust the media to report the story.”

At the end of the two-hour ceremony, Murray appeared on stage, telling the 2,400-person audience, “My theme tonight is what is it like to be beloved. It’s hard to listen to all those people be nice to you. You just get so suspicious.” The actor rounded off the evening on a sentimental note, saying “as much as I dreaded this, I really have to come back to this idea: There’s love. There’s love.”

The Mark Twain Prize honors the life and contributions of the world’s greatest comics, with previous winners including Ellen DeGeneres, Richard Pryor and last year’s winner Eddie Murphy. The gala performance and awards ceremony will air at 9 p.m. on Friday on PBS.

[Washington Post]

Late Night TV Jokes About Mr. Trump, Gore, And A Few Other American Politicians

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REAGAN REPORTS WEB SITE)

Late Night Jokes of the Week
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

  • A former “Apprentice” contestant says that Donald Trump didn’t know the names of all the women on the show, and would describe them by their bodies and looks. When asked about it, Trump said, “Which woman said that? Brown Hair/Lazy Eye or Blond Hair/Nose Job?”
  • Donald Trump just released a new TV ad attacking Hillary Clinton’s health, with clips of her coughing. Which was effective till the end, when he says, “I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message. (LONG SNIFF)”
  • Yesterday, Al Gore campaigned for Hillary Clinton at a Florida rally attended by 1,600 people. Unfortunately for Gore, a recount showed that it was only 1,300 people.
  • A new study finds that having acne could be a good thing because it protects your skin from aging. And then teenagers were like, “Right now it just feels like it’s protecting me from girls.”
  • Samsung is sending out thermally insulated “flameproof” boxes for people returning its exploding Galaxy Note 7 phones. Samsung says they’re being “extra cautious,” while UPS is saying, “Please use FedEx.”

Prayer Strengthens the Brain and Helps Fight Dementia


Jimmy Kimmel Live!

  • Paris Hilton just bought an $8,000 Chihuahua. How does Paris Hilton still have $8,000?
  • The dog weighs 12 ounces. I’ve eaten hot dogs that weigh more than 12 ounces. That’s not even officially a dog, that’s a hamster; she spent eight grand on a hamster.
  • President Obama is winding down his time in office. He’s got less than 100 days left. But he’s keeping busy, still pushing his agenda, he’s working to fight climate change, he’s shortening sentences for drug offenders, every night he goes down to the basement to visit Merrick Garland, his nominee for the Supreme Court.
  • The reason President Obama is working so hard up to the end is to avoid helping his wife pack the house; it’s a pain in the [butt], and he wants no part of it.
  • I hope Obama grows a huge retirement beard like David Letterman.
  • Some very prominent Republican donors are reported to be asking for their money back. Because if there’s one thing Donald Trump is known for, it’s giving money back.
  • Asking Donald Trump for your money back is like asking Chris Christie for a bite of his cheeseburger, it isn’t going to happen. You’ll have to pry it out of his cold, tiny hands.

Prostate Size Can Greatly Affect Quality of Life and Sleep. What Size Is Yours? See This Photo.


Late Night With Seth Meyers

  • Donald Trump told supporters last night to go out and vote on November 28th, when Election Day is actually November 8th. Unless November 8th is just a lie being spread by the liberal media.
  • Donald Trump, last night, criticized Republicans who are dropping support for his campaign, saying, “I wouldn’t want to be in a foxhole with a lot of these people.” Trump made the comment while talking to everyone’s favorite foxhole, Bill O’Reilly.
  • Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said this morning that Republicans should decide whether or not they support Donald Trump and “stop pussyfooting around.” That’s the worst choice of words since Abraham Lincoln said, “I need slavery like I need a hole in the head.”
  • Today was Yom Kippur, or as Gary Johnson calls it, “The capital of Thailand?”
  • Former House Speaker John Boehner says he still plans on voting for Trump even though he said, “Donald wasn’t my first choice, wasn’t my second choice, for that matter he wasn’t my third choice.” “Who was your fourth choice?” whispered Jeb.

 

existential ergonomics

sustainable systems & storytelling

Joseph Iskarius

Today is a good day. Let's make the best of it.

Dina Al-Mahdy

A Journey in My World

Knight of the Heart (knightsheart)

Poetry, Short stories, Blog, Titan

Reflections for my Soul

Sharing the World We Love

poetry penned in moon dust

poetry infused with art

Dementia's Diaries

Trickling words on running pages....

El blog de Alessa

Just another WordPress.com site

Bellibone

Female. Feminist. Feminine.

%d bloggers like this: