Why David Letterman?
David Letterman, Huh?
I get this question every time someone hears about “Dying To Do Letterman.” Why David Letterman? Even my own father asks, “Why not Leno?”
David Letterman 101
Let me answer by first telling you that other comedians don’t ask this question. They understand why “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
My parents loved “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” And during his time Johnny Carson’s show was the one that every comedian wanted to do. Even David Letterman! When Dave started comedy he knew that performing on Carson was the pinnacle for a stand-up comedian. And Letterman made it. Dave did so well that he was asked back and eventually guest hosted for Johnny. And of course he even got his own late night TV show after Johnny. Although David Letterman also had comedians perform on his show, “The Tonight Show” remained the most important show for stand-ups.
Dave versus Jay
When Johnny retired in 1992, Jay Leno took over “The Tonight Show.” David Letterman didn’t get the show like he wanted. Instead he started “The Late Show.”
Now, it’s said that Johnny Carson wanted Letterman to take the show over, but his wishes weren’t really part of the equation.
Johnny never stopped by to visit Jay Leno’s show, but made he did make a couple appearances on Dave’s show.
Maybe because of that reason–Johnny’s loyalty to David Letterman– “The Late Show” has taken the torch as the show for comedians to perform on.
David Letterman’s show became the pinnacle for a stand-up, and hand-in-hand that is where the best in the business have been showcased ever since.
So although my dad, and lots of fans and strangers wonder, “Why not Leno?” Comics know. Only the best get on Letterman. “The Tonight Show” is great. But “The Late Show with David Letterman” is the tops.