Dave Letterman Cracks Up Late Night Rivals
Viewers hoping for more riveting revelations about David Letterman's relations with female employees in the Friday edition of "Late Show" were disappointed - the broadcast had been taped the previous day.
On the other hand, Friday's show had been taped Thursday -- the same day Letterman had careened wildly between self-effacing humor and un-comic-like earnestness, as he told this wild, rambling tale about how a CBS News staffer had allegedly tried to blackmail him for $2 million over having had sex with staffers, as his studio audience struggled to figure out when to laugh, when to applaud, when to gasp - and mostly got it wrong.
That said, watching Friday show was more meta-ironic fun than it might have been otherwise, when guest Larry David suggested he beat Letterman's record for having the fewest number of dates for someone with a TV show, and Letterman simpered "oh, I don't know."
Because we knew that interview had actually been conducted the same day Dave had fessed up to his studio audience about dating staffers at his Worldwide Pants production company, the same day he had testified before a grand jury about the alleged extortion attempt, the same day suspended "48 Hours" journalist Robert Halderman had been arrested after cashing the bogus $2 million check.
Other talk shows, which had not taped their Friday shows in advance, wallowed in the story like pigs in mud:
"I was shocked that Letterman has been having affairs," Bill Maher said on HBO's "Real Time.
"I had no idea he was even running for office."
NBC's Jimmy Fallon, meanwhile, discussed a book that lists more than 200 reasons why women have sex and "Letterman knows the top-10."
"If you came here tonight for sex with a talk show host, you've got the wrong studio," joshed NBC's Jay Leno, who until recently was Letterman's late night timeslot rival and now hosts at 10 o'clock show.
"What's going on? First Conan [O'Brien] hit his head, and then somebody tries to extort money from Letterman. I'm so glad I'm out of late night!" Leno continued.
But NBC's new "The Tonight Show" host O'Brien, who, yes, had suffered a mild concussion on his show last week when he slipped and fell, did not rise to the bait Friday when guest Drew Carey sat down and immediately cracked, "Man, I would hate to be on opposite Letterman tonight with all that sex stuff going on - that's got to be tough!"
"No comment. So how are thing going with you?" O'Brien said tersely.
Also on Friday, in amongst all this levity, Halderman pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court when he was arraigned on one count of attempted first-degree grand larceny.
The same day, Letterman's Worldwide Pants issued a statement saying the company has a written policy in its employee manual that covers harassment, and "Dave is not in violation of our policy and no one has ever raised a complaint against him." Even so, the company declined to provide a copy of that policy. That's funny.
Your Take: Do Letterman's affairs change how you feel about him?
Lisa de Moraes
October 3, 2009; 5:32 AM ET
Categories: TV News
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