Source - “I think you are bound by the pressure of who is writing the checks,” the former CBS personality says.
David Letterman made a rare appearance itsa talk show since retiring as the host of CBS’ The Late Show when he dropped by to visit Norm Macdonald’s podcast. The new season of Norm Macdonald Live premiered Monday on YouTube with the two old pals discussing a number of different topics, including Letterman vying for the Tonight Show decades ago and the time he met Richard Nixon.
The hour long chat was fun and never too serious, but there was a moment when the two comics discussed the current state of late-night talk shows.
“At one point, there was two shows: The 11:30 p.m. show and the 12:30 a.m. show. Johnny Carson and David Letterman,” Macdonald began. “Now, there is 100 Johnny Carsons and no David Letterman. I mean, there is 100 11:30 p.m. shows. The show are indistinct.”
The former late-night host also discussed why he was so particular about the name of his CBS show — with the word “starring” never added to the title.
“I was embarrassed,” Letterman said. “I could not possibly, and still don’t, consider myself a star, because I couldn’t refer to myself as a star. Johnny Carson was a star, there’s no question of that. So for me to adopt that — Starring Dave Letterman — that was just ridiculous. In the same way, I always cringe a little when people refer to the folks who watch their show as their ‘fans.’ I just think that’s a little too … you know, you kind of just stepped over the line of basic humility there. So to call myself a star didn’t go.”
It’s great that guys like Letterman and Stewart are starting to pop up again. We need more of the old guard on TV. They touch on it a little but late night is so vanilla now. Fallon is the game guy and Colbert is the politics guy. Kimmel plays pranks and Corden sings in cars. No one is taking risks. It’s all safe humor. Letterman did over six-thousand shows and it never felt phoned in. Sure, things got a little soft towards the end but there was always an element of unpredictability. Like at any moment he could turn an interview on its head. Dave and the audience were in on the joke and the guest was the joke.
Regardless, watching these two go back and fourth is comedy nerd porn. I was a little nervous when it started but neither of them missed a beat. It was like they were back on the original Late Night. Dave started making fun of the third wheel and Norm was doing anything to make him laugh. Funny when you think about it. A guy as successful as Norm MacDonald still gets star struck around David Letterman. Seeking validation through laughs. I get it, if you’ve got the bug there’s nothing better than making someone who you think is funny laugh.
They touch on a lot but if you don’t have an entire hour fast forward to (24:20). They talk careers and Pat Sajak. Hopefully these two will do more down the line but for now let’s enjoy what we’ve got.