Lettermanning Up

Shalit-Letterman 1

As David Letterman retires from late night television this week and embarks on the next phase of his life, is there any better way to honor him than a Top 10 List? Probably. But, it’s a busy week for me–job interviews, my wife’s school board re-election campaign, our family’s Memorial Day weekend planning, so here we go…

Top 10 Things We’d Like to See When David Letterman Retires:

10. No more humorous Top 10 attempts from anybody. Dave popularized and dominated the format for decades. And even he would agree that many of the items on his lists (or anyone’s list) were often just filler. Number 10 was always strong, in order to set the tone right out of the gate. Number one was always funny, in the name of a big finish. Maybe #2 and/or #9 was also pretty good. In between…meh.

9. An encore of those large wooden mallets used to create the appearance of squishing movie critic Gene Shalit’s recognizable head like a grape (“before” picture above, “after” below). The never-ending list of worthy targets (Bieber, Putin, Kanye) screams for a weekly feature.


8. The return of appointment viewing. Would it be so wrong if we forfeited our self-centered, on-demand proclivities and powers once in a while? If we actually felt the desire to PLAN to be together with our significant others at a SPECIFIC time to enjoy a program? I miss that about Letterman, Moonlighting, The Simpsons, and others.

7. To watch and listen to something so vividly entertaining, the exact lines are etched in memory. Like when Bob Costas was calling play-by-play of swivel-chair races at a New York City hospital and said, among the medical staffers gathered around him, as he threw it back to Letterman: “The competition continues apace, Dave, even as the plaintive cries of desperately ill men and women go unheeded.” I remember the precise line from Costas. It was THAT good.

6. No more flashing from big stars. Unless we all get to see.


5. 4. 3. See #10.

2. A host who knows when to skewer a smug or self-important guest, like the time Letterman whipped out a can of aerosol paint and sprayed Bryant Gumbel’s bare ankles orange, as the then-host of The Today Show sat next to him in loafers. Agree to appear on a show like Letterman’s, on his turf, then you play by his rules, or else.

1. Continued late night success for Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon, the next-best options the genre has to offer, after Dave.

What would YOU like to see following Letterman’s retirement? In the interest of brevity and short attention spans, please keep it to a Top 3, or maybe just one.

Dave Coombs, a longtime morning radio host, is busy planning HIS next on-air job.


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