I'm not trying to fool anyone. I've obviously never watched an entire episode of the Late Show with David Letterman in my entire life. I grew up in England, duh. Even if I had spent my formative years in America, I'm sure my late night TV would have been dedicated to something far more puerile. But as Dave announces he's stepping down after his 6,028th show, I'm going to eulogise his stint by drawing from my vast resevoir of YouTube clips.
Thanks to the internet, it's like I've seen every episode! Here are some of my favourite moments.
Phil Hartman Being Alpha As Fuck
You'll know Phil Hartman as the voice of Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz from The Simpsons. Tragically, Hartman was murdered by his wife at the height of his career. I'll let you Google that, because it's incredibly depressing. Hartman made an appearance on Letterman in 1994, that I return to when I need a reminder of how a man can command universal attention through the sheer force of his character. In about two sentences, he paints himself as the most enthralling, hilarious and fascinating man to appear on television. A true Alpha male (not in a gross PUA way); a legitimate social weapon.
Even if I didn't know him from his time on The Simpsons, this clip makes me want to know him personally - as well as making me super sad that we can no longer anjoy his talents.
Michael Richards Rubbish Apology (Ft. Seinfeld)
Michael Richards, who played Kramer on Seinfeld, achieved a new level of infamy a decade ago when he lost it on stage at a comedy club. He was heckled by an African-American, and he responded by dropping more racial epithets than a drunk plantation owner. The next night, Jerry Seinfeld was a guest on Letterman, so he had Richards come on to apologise.
It's a brutal watch, made worse by the fact most of the audience are laughing during his incoherent - albeit contrite - ramble.
Joaquin Phoenix being awks
Joaquin Phoenix was in a mockumentary a few years ago that I remember being so terrible, I'm not even compelled to look up the name. Anyways, as part of the film's hilarious 'is he srs or not lol' press junket, he went on Letterman and didn't answer any questions. Next!
Drew Barrymore Flashing Dave
Back when Drew Barrymore loved cocaine and vodka she went on Letterman and flashed her tits at Dave. Good outfit too - v 90s!
Harvey Pekar's rant
Harvey Pekar was the man responsible for the American Splendor comic book series (you may know him from the film of the same name, starring Paul Giamatti). He wrote a really terrific chapter of AS called Our Cancer Year, documenting his battle with the disease. Better still, all his comics were illustrated by Robert Crumb. At some point, he developed a strange relationship with Letterman, causing him to be invited on to the show many times - despite being a relatively 'obscure' guest.
That all came to an end when he went on Letterman and ranted about the evils of General Electric, which just so happened to sponsor the show.
Kanye West Being Extremely College Dropout
Here's a young Kanye West performing 'All Falls Down'. He's dressed like a frat boy from Montana and he's accompanied by a megababe violinist. Simpler times.
Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting On You)
You can't have a Letterman countdown without including this.
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