(Sorry for the recent lack of updates. It’s been busy…)
The news broke yesterday on Twitter with a post from REM’s bass player Mike Mills that David Letterman had just announced he would be retiring when his current contract expired, most likely sometime in 2015.
Mills was a guest musician on the show, along with REM’s Peter Buck, helping out with Joseph Arthur’s performance of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.”
Letterman has been on the air continuously for nearly 34 years and close to 6,000 episodes. Folks are speculating that since Letterman has now outlasted the Tonight Show’s Jay Leno, he feels free to retire. Also, he’s likely feeling the heat from the new, younger talk show hosts like Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, or Craig Ferguson.
With the news of Letterman’s retirement, I have to bring up an earlier TV great – Ernie Kovacs. Letterman’s style of absurdist humor draws heavily on the style of TV comedy created by Kovacs in the 1950s, and for many years Letterman’s announcer was Bill Wendell, who had worked with Kovacs.
David Letterman interviews Bill Wendell
Here are several examples of the crazy comedy Kovacs pioneered on TV in the 1950s:
The Nairobi Trio