It’s weird, I hadn’t watched Letterman much in the last 10+ years he was on the air, but during the week of his last show I was suddenly hit with a lot of emotion.
I discovered Letterman at the age when I was starting to become aware of adult stuff — the serious adult world around me — it all seemed fucking horrible. School already seemed like a nightmare and my parents always reminded me that I had it “easy”. You wait. you’ll see!
But here was Dave, this adult who was openly pained by the foolishness of everything I was just starting to notice, and he was mocking it. And, he wasn’t just a clown — even with Alka-Seltzer strapped to ever inch of his body you could tell — he was a real adult. It was a wee bit revolutionary to me, but more importantly at that time, it was a fantastic escape. Worth much more to me than going to school alert and well-rested on a full night’s sleep.
Letterman’s attitude, “Monkey-Cam”, “Stupid Pet Tricks” — to my kid brain, these didn’t seem like things that should be allowed on TV. Also, nobody at school or anyone I knew talked about it. It was like I found a secret club or something.
Over that last week I spent all my free time in a YouTube hole. I watched and I sketched. I wanted to combine the sketches to function as a comic telling a story — from Dave’s sneakers days right to the last glimpse of his loafers. A string of memorable moments. Some that meant a lot to me personally (specifically the Pixies ’92 appearance) and some that just seemed to capture the public’s attention more.
I guess this all might probably seem childish or shallow. Do yourself a huge favour — right now. Search clips of Teri Garr’s Letterman appearances over the years. Watch them in order right up to her last appearance on the show. If watching them flirt, fight and age over the years isn’t one of the funniest, charming, most beautiful love stories ever made then I don’t know what.