Letterman’s Personal Top-10 List Is Not So Funny

October 3, 2009

Letterman 02b

For years, David Letterman has made millions by making fun of other celebrities, sometimes as they sat there as guests (Cher and Madonna come to mind) and sometimes in his monologues.  As with many comics, he’s reveled in the escapades of celebrities caught in compromising positions (Eddie Murphy & the transsexual, Hugh Grant and the hooker in his car, etc.).

In a shocking twist, it would appear that this is a case where the Late Show Emperor has no clothes… literally. It turns out that Letterman (who is married with a young child) has had a series of affairs with employees of his production company, ironically called “World-Wide Pants.” This all came to light within the past 72 hours in a bizarre “movie of the week” manner with the arrest of a CBS producer who tried to blackmail Letterman.

Letterman with son Harry

Letterman with son Harry

First things first: I hope the person who attempted to blackmail Letterman goes to prison for his efforts. There’s no place in our society for those who prey on others, whether it be through blackmail or in any other manner. Which brings me to my second point.

Letterman has admitted on his program to having had sexual relations with members of his production company. As such, he needs to take responsibility for the position he put himself in. It would appear his on-air admission to the affairs is an attempt to do that. It doesn’t excuse the stupidity and selfishness of his actions, but it does mean that he acknowledges it. That is the first step. I can only hope this was before his marriage and the birth of his young son. Which brings me to my third point.

As in any blackmail case, the real victims are the members of the immediate family of the person being blackmailed.

I’ve got mixed feelings on this. Consider:

  • I hope Letterman’s wife and son will be able to cope with this. It can never be pleasant to be the spouse of someone who’s dalliances have been thrust into the spotlight. And the father/son relationship could be jeopardized as a result of Letterman’s selfish actions if, in fact, these dalliances took place while he was in his marriage or long-term relationship with his wife.
  • Letterman is just the latest example of employers who use their position of power inappropriately when it comes to dating underlings of both sexes. So far, there has been no word as to whether any of the people Letterman had sex with felt pressured to do so. I hope each event was consensual, but if not, I hope Letterman is prosecuted for sexual harassment or rape if appropriate.  I don’t care how famous or funny you are. Wrong is wrong.
  • It now remains to be seen what this will do to Letterman’s career. If it were 20 years ago, Letterman might have found himself pounding the pavement. But in this era of non-accountability (especially in the celebrity world), it’s highly doubtful that CBS will punish Dave in any manner at all.

It would be wise for people like David Letterman to keep in mind the following: With increased wealth and power comes increased responsibility. It’s easier to get what you want, and easier for that want list to grow to ridiculous excess. We see it every day.  Some choose to use this power to achieve personal goals that involve causing others to compromise their lives and situations–others who don’t have the luxury of your wealth and power.

When someone like Letterman forgets this and simply goes for his own pleasures, it affects others’ lives in ways that may not be immediately apparent to either party. But the price must be paid eventually, and it’s seldom the rich and powerful who pay.  This, by the way, is not limited to the rich. Anyone who forces, cajoles, or simply fast-talks another into compromising their standards is wrong to do so.

Letterman now has to face the truth of what he’s done. He admitted it on the air to the laughs and applause of the audience. That’s not facing the ugly truth, David. That is something you will have to do on your own and with your wife and child.  I could care less what the impact is ultimately on David Letterman. But I do care what that impact might be for his elderly mother, his wife, young son and the families of the employees he slept with.

I originally did my own “Top 10 List” to end this rant.  Like Letterman’s it was crass but humorous.  But in thinking about it, it didn’t feel right.  I might send it to a few friends in the privacy of an e-mail, but to post it on a public blog seemed wrong. This is a public site and there’s a child (Letterman’s son) at risk here.Plus, if there’s one chance in a million that a family member of one of those involved were to read this and be offended it, too, would be wrong. Letterman may like acting on his impulse without regard to how it impacts others. But I don’t.

It’s more than simply a case where “The Emperor of Late Night Has No Pants.” His hypocrisy finally having caught up with him publicly, it’s no longer simply about Letterman. We know CBS doesn’t have the guts to do what’s right, so all that’s left is to consider the victims and “the victims behind the victims” including his wife and young son who is now left to wonder for real: “Who’s Your Daddy?”

Gerry Ashley

The Deeper Significance of Sarah Palin’s Beat-Down Of David Letterman

June 18, 2009


Like most, I was appalled by the now infamous non-joke made by Late Show host David Letterman regarding the daughter(s) of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.  And also like most, I just wanted Dave to go away. The last thing I wanted to see was the press covering it endlessly for two reasons:

  • This may have been a calculated “No such thing as bad publicity” attempt to trump NBC’s re-vamped “Tonight Show” with Conan O’brien who, after a solid start, is slipping badly. Why give Letterman free promotion?
  • There are two hot spots in the world (The Middle East and North Korea) that deserve to have the spotlight on them because they pose a far greater threat to us.

As last week  unfolded, Letterman acted as most of us expected: Defensive, refusing to give a full-on (and richly deserved) apology. Instead, he posed himself as victim. We just weren’t getting the joke, he told us. That was the problem. Not him.

Millions lapped it up. After all, this was “just Sara Palin, right?”


But something no-so-funny happened on the way to Letterman’s victory party: Governor Palin defined perfectly the conservative approach to problem-solving.  And much of the public, greatly to Letterman’s surprise, was, on her side.

As Letterman learned this week, Sarah Palin is no joke. She’s no pushover and she’s not stupid. The stupid one was the loudmouth who thought his joke was funny and (initially) worth defending by pulling the liberal trick of claiming we all just misunderstood.

And therein lies the deeper significance of Sara Palin’s “beat-down” of David Letterman:

HORSESASS 2Palin stood  up, not just for her daughters, but also for what is simply right and decent.And she did so in an intelligent, direct manner. She didn’t take it personally, but responded to it globally by pointing out that this was inappropriate for anyone’s daughter to face this kind of treatment from a 62 year-old man.

The target of her legitimate anger knew he was being dressed down in no uncertain terms, as he deserved to be. There was no worry about political correctness here. Palin stayed on point. In doing so, she exposed Letterman for what he truly is. But beyond that, she showed she has the character of a leader. One who stands up and defends what’s right. Her words resounded with a truth and wisdom that was straight to the point:

“Concerning Letterman’s comments about my young daughter (and I doubt he’d ever dare make such comments about anyone else’s daughter): ‘Laughter incited by sexually-perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/NY entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands — that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone’s daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others.’”

This is the kind of comment a true leader makes. It would have sounded perfectly normal coming out of Ronald Reagan’s mouth. Palin showed us she, like Reagan, is not the kind of person  to travel around the world apologizing for what’s right with America. In short, she has what Barack Obama doesn’t have: my confidence in her leadership to defend the Constitution of the United States, not to apologize for it.

There are those in the public who still want their pound of flesh, however, and are still planning to protest Letterman’s show.  As for me, I’m like the policeman at the scene of an of an accident: “Move along, folks… there’s nothing more to see here…”

Gerry Ashley

Note To David Letterman – Quit Your Whining!

September 26, 2008


Last week Barack Obama appeared on Late Night with David Letterman with his “Change” mantra.  On Wednesday of this week, Senator John McCain was scheduled to be Letterman’s guest. However, with the economic crisis, McCain felt it was not appropriate to appear on an entertainment program, and notified Letterman he was suspending his campaign and returning to Washington to help work on the solution to the crisis.

Forced into an uncomfortable position of having to scurry for a backup guest,  he settled on Keith Olbermann, the man who put the exclamation point on the sentance, “Responsible Journalism is dead!”

During the opening monologue Letterman, known to be a hot-head, felt put off, especially since he had previously described McCain as a true hero. But after McCain cancelled, Letterman stated, “This doesn’t smell right. I think somebody’s putting something in his Metamucil.”

During his segment, Olbermann repeatedly confirmed his image as an ass… excuse me… a DEMOCRAT kissing liberal. He informed Letterman that McCain was actually there, in the CBS studios, giving an interview to Katie Couric. Letterman asked for (and got) a live feed from the studio where McCain was indeed preparing to be interviewed by Couric.

For the record, I think McCain cancelled the Letterman appearance for the right reasons. However, I feel it was a mistake to do so, then stop to give Couric an interview without giving Letterman an explanation. Yes, of course, Couric’s interview was an opportunity to focus seriously on the current financial crisis and it was important to get that message out through the mainstream media.

However, I believe that McCain could have ALSO delivered the same message to an even bigger audience consisting of a different demographic than those who watch Couric. And that may come back to haunt him.

Of course Letterman, the Sultan of Sarcasm took McCain to task, and has done so for the past several days. Not satisied to ridicule the Senator during his monolog, he’s also targeted McCain in his “Top Ten List,” a   segment that stopped being funny at about the same time he took his show from NBC to CBS as payback to NBC for not giving him the Tonight Show.

He’ll probably continue hammering McCain tonight. As such, I feel compelled to write this as an open message to Dave Letterman:

Quit WHINING, you self-absorbed little snot! While it’s unfortunate that you had to scurry about to get a fill-in guest (and it must have really sucked to find out that Keith Olbermann was the best you could come up with), the bottom line is, we’re in CRISIS mode and Senator McCain made the decision that addressing the crisis was more important than appearing on your TV program.

Your reaction was comical at first. But as usual, you don’t seem to be able to recognize when the horse is dead. Stop beating it. Get over it and move on, you whining little wanker!  And while you’re over it, get over yourself! There’s a reason you constantly rank behind the Tonight Show. This was a perfect example as to why…

Gerry Ashley