Letterman to Retire



Yesterday was a hectic day at work – I was jumping from conference call to conference call, trying to finalize the arrangements for a team meeting for one of the projects I manage and adapting to the fact that our Internet is now running at 45% capacity. There was a lot of multi-tasking and the usual mayhem; I can’t even remember what else I was going when I saw an e-mail from CNN pop up in my inbox. I was honestly relieved to see it was a news update and not another email that was going to generate more work for me to do. I gave it a cursory glance – and then stopped what I was doing to read it again. I’d misread a tweet earlier in the day – it turns out that it was in fact the White House, not the Waffle House, that has been outflanking the GOP on Obamacare – so I wasn’t fully confident in my reading competition.

But I had in fact read it correctly – David Letterman announced that he was retiring.

I was somewhat surprised that the news had as much of an effect as it did; anyone who has even occasionally read the blog knows that my late night allegiance lies with Jimmy Fallon. I watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report every night. I’ve become a more frequent Conan viewer, though I usually watch everything but the interviews. I dabble in Kimmel when he has on interesting guests.

I honestly can’t tell you the last time that I’ve watched The Late Show with David Letterman. With so many late night options, he just doesn’t make it into the rotation very often; DVRing and streaming helps me keep up with more shows, but there is only so much time in a day. Letterman is a causality of my overbooking.

But that wasn’t always the case. From high school until my early years of grad school, I was a regular connoisseur of Letterman – first when he was on NBC with Late Night and then when he moved to CBS to go head to head with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. At the time, Letterman was the more edgy late night host – Carson was great, but I was clearly not his target audience and we all know how much I can’t stand Jay Leno and his blandness. Letterman was also the only New York based show in the early years, so I felt more of a kinship to him and his affinity for a city that I also love. When I originally dreamed of going to see a live taping of a show, Letterman was who I wanted to see. I especially was a fan of his Top Ten lists, so much so that I basically stole the concept and appropriated it for my own use (in homage, of course).  Many of my friends in college would wake up to find a Heather created Top Ten (or Top Five if I ran out of ideas) posted on the dry erase board of their dorm room, usually recounting some of the adventures that we had the night before. I recently found a treasure trove of these lists and they still make me laugh, even after all this time. When Letterman had his emergency bypass surgery in 2000, I tuned in for his first show back and cried as the thanked all the people that helped him through that scary ordeal. In 2001, Letterman was one of the voices that helped ease the pain of 9/11. I may not have always watched Letterman, but I was somehow comforted to know that he was always there.

Letterman’s retirement announcement is not a complete surprise; he’s the elder statesman in the current late night landscape and his ratings do not come close to the highs of either of the two Jimmys. The success for late night shows are measured differently now – it’s not just ratings, but viral videos that help dictate success and that is a game that Letterman, like Leno, is ill-equipped to compete in. Letterman and Leno was more of an even playing field, but with younger and hipper options in late night Letterman began to seem more and more like the crotchety old guy at the desk. Letterman has been doing a show in some capacity for over 30 years – practically my entire life – so the idea that he would be retiring wasn’t really a question of if, but when. With a young son at home, it makes sense that he would want to leave on his terms to spend more time with his family.

Knowing that something is going to happen and it actually happening are two different things, however, so even if I was expecting this announcement sooner rather than later it still made me a little sad. I barely remember late night without Letterman and its going to be weird to flip through the channels at 11:35 and not see him. He’ll be around at least through 2014 – that gives me a year to try to go to a taping – but his seat wasn’t even cold yet before the speculation started as to who would replace him. There are some interesting ideas out there, but how practical some of them are will remain to be seen. Just please don’t let it be Leno.

Perhaps knowing that my time with Letterman is limited will prompt me to make more of an effort to check in on him; I’m never going to be able to swing watching him every night, but I’d like to watch a handful of shows a month. At the very least, this announcement makes me nostalgic for the era when Letterman was my late night guy; I have a lot of fond memories of those shows from the 90s. So here’s a tip of a cap to Letterman – I’m glad that he gets to plan out his farewell and the late night terrain will be very different without him. In a lot of ways, many of the people who are currently doing shows in late night are able to do what they do because of Letterman.After all, he originated the concept of  Late Night over at NBC, which has served a springboard for a lot of people.  Many of his peers realized that and issued nice statements yesterday.  I think Seth Myers said it best:




Congratulations Dave and best wishes on your upcoming retirement!


Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Snow Day edition

Another day, another snowstorm – I am really beginning to hate living in Upstate New York. It’s been a bad winter for everyone and the fact that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow is not a good omen. We’re getting up to a foot today and there are rumblings of a Nor’easter headed our way on Sunday. This may be the winter that finally breaks me.

Thankfully I am working from home today so I don’t have to go out in this mess and I am looking forward to participating in a conference call this morning while still in my pajamas. I feel terrible for the people who don’t have that luxury or who don’t have a very understanding boss and are bracing this weather to go into work today. Stay safe!

For those of you that are snowed in, hopefully my biweekly roundup of pop culture stories will help keep you warm and make you forget about all the white stuff piling up outside. Maybe there’s even a thing or two in here to help you keep the kids entertained.

  • In honor of the weather, check out this side by side comparison of the beginning of The Walking Dead and Atlanta after 2 inches of snow paralyzed the city:


  • Benedict Cumberbatch dropped by Sesame Street:


  • The good people of Savannah, GA had to watch the same boring Super Bowl that the rest of us did, but they also got to watch this ridiculously epic local commercial for a personal injury lawyer:

They are the clear winners of Super Bowl Sunday.

  • Last time it was Liberace, this time it’s Peter Pan. Bill Murray knows how to make an entrance:


  • Steve Carell’s college mustache is OUTSTANDING:
  • A gag reel from Thor: The Dark World:


  • David Beckham – fan of LEGOs. He just became more perfect.
  • One unknown perk of winning the Super Bowl – you get to hang out with Beyoncé and Jay Z:


  • Neil Gaimain reads Green Eggs and Ham for charity


  • Former Olympian Tara Lipinksi skated a The Big Lebowski-themed routine on Fallon:


  • Conan is the king of the remote segments; in this one, he tries to sell some of his old memorabilia:


  • The cover for Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue has been revealed:

VF Hollywood

Julia Roberts is one lucky duck!


  • Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West (Red Band – NSFW):


  • Kevin Costner’s Draft Day:


  • Transformers: Age of Extinction:


  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2:


  • 24: Live Another Day:


  • Vampire Academy:


  • Liam Neeson in Non-Stop:


  • From Dusk Til Dawn – the series:


  • A trailer for the video game Thief:


  • The Amanda Knox story inspired a feature film, Face of an Angel:


  • The final Divergent trailer:


  • Another interesting trio: Aaron Paul, Rob Thomas and Bill Murray at a Kings of Leon concert:


  • Animator Arthur Rankin, Jr., who was responsible for holiday classics like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, passed away.
  • This week is Beatles week at Late Night with David Letterman.
  • As a fan of the original cult classic, I was impressed with this trailer for a fake Warriors reboot:


  • There were beer drones? Why am I just hearing about this now that they are grounded?

As always, we end with the Supercuts and Mashups

  • A supercut of Oscar visual effects winners:


  • A Superman vs. Jesse Eisenberg supercut:


  • Grumpy Cat in Frozen:


  • This supercut ignores the so-called plot of the first 3 Transformers movies and just focuses on the actual transforming:


  • A mashup of every Harrison Ford movie:


  • Mr. Freeze sings “Let it Go”


  • And finally, a supercut of all of Tina’s moans on Bob’s Burgers:


Spring can’t get here quickly enough!

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Breaking Bad Edition

I normally have a lot of Breaking Bad info in these pop culture roundups, but with the show recently returning for its final eight episodes ever (SOB!), there was more awesome info than normal this week. I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so sprinkled throughout the roundup is an abundance of links related to the show. And for the love of all that is holy, if you aren’t watching this show get to steppin’. You are missing out! So kick back and bring yourself up to speed on all the pop culture that you may have missed over the last two weeks. Let me be your pop culture curator.

  • N’Sync is rumored to be reuniting at the MTV VMAs on Sunday, which now forces me to watch the VMAs. I’m skeptical as I’m not sure what Timberlake gets out of this. But I do hope it happens.


  • Jimmy Fallon is doing a Breaking Bad parody. This will be amazing.


  • It’s hard to get excited about football season when you root for the Bills, but I do love when the Manning brothers do commercials:


  • This is an interesting casting rumor (emphasis on rumor) – could Charlie Hunnam play Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaption? By the time this movie comes out, will anyone still care?
  • Friday Night Lights, the movie? Make it happen!
  • HBO has released a trailer for the new season of Girls:


  • NBC is clearly in the Jonathan Banks (Mike, Breaking Bad) business. After a guest appearance on Parks and Recreation, the actor will be a regular on Community.

A quick break for the depressing stuff:

  • Lisa Robin Kelly, who played Topher Grace’s older sister Laurie on That 70s Show, died. She was 43.

OK – back to the more lighthearted links.

  • Blog fave Dean Winters (Dennis the beeper king on 30 Rock) is headed to the new Andy Samberg comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
  • Oprah gives away cars when she is just a guest on a show. Mental note – get in the audience when Oprah is on a talk show.
  • A trailer for the new season of Homeland:


  • Jay Leno’s last night on The Tonight Show will be February 6th. Believe it when you see it, Jimmy.
  • Mark your calendars: the third installment of Adam Scott’s The Greatest Event in Television History drops on November 7th. Nothing is confirmed, but speculation is that they are doing the opening credits from Too Close for Comfort.
  • Ha! Billy Ray Cyrus does look like fat Mac:


photo from Uproxx

photo from Uproxx

  • Whoa – it’s Walter, Jr. from Breaking Bad:


Photo from Uproxx

Photo from Uproxx


  • A tweet from Sons of Anarchy creator and showrunner Kurt Sutter makes me very nervous.
  • The chicken fight from Family Guy was never one of my favorites, but kudos to these two stunt women for the live action re-enactment:


  • This new trailer for season 3 of Revenge has piqued my interest:


  • The new channel FXX, which will show new episodes of The League and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, launches September. Use this handy website to find out if FXX is available on your cable system (Phew- it is for me!). The network is off to a promising start with a Parks and Recreation marathon.
  • This slowed down version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” is pretty cool:


  • The house from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is for sale.
  • This Avril Lavigne music video is a little nuts:


  • The White House Twitter account made a Mean Girls reference:

White House Twitter_Mean Girls

  • My birthday is a month from today and I would sure like it if someone bought me this Breaking Bad Lego set.
  • Another pop culture roundup, another American Horror Story: Coven teaser:


  • I’m surprised it took so long; watch a guy crowd surfs in order to “Come on Down” On The Price is Right:


  • Benedict Cumberbatch had a message for the papzrazzi trying to get spoilers on Sherlock:


Getty Image

Getty Image

  • In this trailer for Fading Gigolo, watch Woody Allen act as a pimp for John Turturro. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.


  • I’ve always like Donal Logue, so I’m not surprised he helped a stranger propose. P.S. Terriers is now streaming on Netflix – do yourself a favor and watch this late great series.
  • J.J. Abrams released a mysterious trailer on Monday.

Turns out it was for a book.

  • Listen to the Breaking Bad theme played on meth lab equipment:


As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts

  • Mean Girls mashed up with Book of Mormon


  • Here are some super cuts of movie clichés. First up “You just don’t get it, do you?”


  • Phone numbers that start with 555:


  • Superheroes introducing themselves:


  • Vulture put together a supercut of all of John Oliver’s explanations for Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show absence.
  • Nerdist put together a Breaking Bad/Saved by the Bell mashup:

Dustin Diamond was available? I’m shocked.

  • Behind Elysium (A Behind the Candelabra/Elysium mashup)


  • The opening of Adventure Time done in Legos:



Another installment of a Seinfeld/Game of Thrones mashup:


  • Ha! Thor meets Arrested Development in Thorested Development:


  • Breaking Bad recut as a romantic comedy:


  • President Obama “sings” Demi Lavato:


  • Listen to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in the style of other divas:


  • We Are Never Ever Gonna Cook Together (Taylor Swift/Breaking Bad parody)


  • And finally – Walter White “sings” “My Way”