In his 33 years as a late-night entertainer, David Letterman was both a host and an antagonist to politicians of every stripe. He took a centrist approach to NBC’s “Late Night” (which he starred in from 1982 to 1993) and at CBS’s “Late Show” (where he was the M.C. from 1993 until his retirement in 2015), holding wide-ranging conversations with President Bill Clinton or Senator John McCain on a given evening, then bringing the satirical hammer down on them the following night.
Hillary Clinton, now the Democratic presidential nominee, was a frequent guest as well as a comedic target: During her failed presidential bid in 2008, for example, he joked that her campaign was “$20 million in debt — now when she gets that 3 a.m. call, it’s from a collection agency.”
Mr. Letterman, 69, had an especially feisty relationship with Donald J. Trump, who had been a frequent guest and sparring partner since the 1980s. As an interview subject since becoming the Republican presidential nominee, Mr. Trump has since bedeviled hosts like Jimmy Fallon (who was criticized for going too easy on him) and Stephen Colbert (who acknowledges he should have been a tougher interrogator). But Mr. Letterman seemed to land some lasting hits on Mr. Trump: a 2012 “Late Show” segment in which he mocked Mr. Trump for outsourcing his Macy’s clothing line to Asia resurfaced this year in a campaign ad for Mrs. Clinton.
Cranky Dave is cranky, so what’s new?
Trump’s detractors love pointing out that Trump has “always been this way”. Letterman had no problem using Trump for ratings back in the day, when Trump was “this way,” so his “OMG-WORST PERSON EVER!” shtick now is weaker than the weakest sauce in weak sauce history.
What’s most ridiculous here is the Times digging up one old Hillary joke of Letterman’s to support their contention that he took a “centrist” approach to politics on his show. Letterman was (is) a shrill, bitter partisan. For the last five years that he was on the air he was basically unwatchable unless one was an echo-chamber leftist. His monologues were controlled tantrums that placed political partisanship over humor.
So thanks for weighing in, Dave, now get back to yelling at trees.