The proudest moment in his career, Late Show writer Bill Scheft boasted at a Friday comedy writer panel held at Washington, DC's Newseum, was when he got David Letterman to try to undermine guest John McCain's Bill Ayers talking point by raising McCain's relationship with G. Gordon Liddy -- as if a political dirty trickster were the equivalent of a terrorist involved with bombings which killed people, could have killed hundreds more if his attempts worked and remains unrepentant. At the event, organized by the Writers Guild of America, East, and shown Saturday night on C-SPAN, Scheft declared of his effort to discredit an anti-Obama point: “I'm more proud of that than any single joke that I've written.” That earned applause from the audience.
Later, to a chorus of “yeah” from other writers on the stage representing The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Late Night, as well as another Late Show writer (Tom Ruprecht, who is in front of Scheft in the screen shot, the best I could get), Scheft insisted the only reason the comedy shows don't make fun of President Barack Obama is because he's “a little too damn competent and we ain't used to that.”
Earlier in the day, some of the participants delivered stand-up acts and DCRTV.com's “page 2" recounted this “joke” from Scheft: “Former Vice President Dick Cheney -- I actually don’t have a joke here, I just like to say former Vice President Dick Cheney.”
As NewsBusters reported Monday, comedians just can't bring themselves to poke fun at Barack Obama.
This problem apparently is troubling CBS "Late Show" host David Letterman:
The challenge for us here at the "Late Show": what are we going to do to make fun of the President, because that's what we do, we take cheap shots at the President. And, we didn't know what to do the first four years of Clinton. We thought, "Wow, what's going on there?" And BINGO, in comes the heavy set intern, and BOOM. That was great. And then Bush proved to be another mother lode, I mean, what a rich deep vein that was. But now we're, thank you, but we don't know what to do with Barack Obama because he comes in and he hits the ground running, and whether he's doing anything good, he's at least doing stuff. He's gone crazy, he's always doing stuff. And I said, "Oh, God, I'm going to have to go back to telling toothpaste jokes."
Realizing this wouldn't be good, Letterman got one of his writers to finally come up with some Obama jokes, but as you'll see from the embedded video below the fold, they all bashed -- wait for it!!! -- Bush (h/t Hot Air):
At the taping late Monday afternoon of CBS's Late Show, host David Letterman asked guest Katie Couric about “this bonehead Rush Limbaugh,” prompting Couric to plead: “Dave, don't do this to me, please! Don't do this to me.” But Letterman was just getting rolling with insults as he asserted Limbaugh's attire on Saturday at CPAC made him look “like an Eastern European gangster.” Focusing on Limbaugh's physical appearance, Letterman recited how Limbaugh's “got the black jacket on, the black silk shirt and it's unbuttoned, like, 'oh yeah, when you think Rush Limbaugh, you think ooh let's see a little flesh.'”
CBS posted the exchange as the “Big Show Highlight” preview for Monday's show. It's now the lead video in rotation on the Late Show's home page where it is displayed under the “Rush in the Flesh” heading. You can also view the Flash video clip from this interior page. [Update: video added to this post]
Marveling on Monday's Late Show about how people were lining up during the inauguration “to buy merchandise with any depiction” of President Barack Obama, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams expressed his pleasure at seeing so many people “that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations.”
All the Presidents going back for “generations” before Obama were “evil”? Williams likely meant to say past presidential victors were seen as the “lesser of two evils,” but a greater percent of voters cast their ballot for Ronald Reagan in 1984 (58.7%) -- when plenty of Americans outside the media were excited about re-electing that President -- and George Bush in 1988 (53.7%) than chose Obama (52.8%).
Williams soon insisted “none” of his personal excitement over Obama's presidency “is about a party” since, he quite seriously maintained, “none of us have a party in my line of work. We all try to call balls and strikes down the center.” Yet, Williams proceeded to trumpet how “we have a dazzling family in the White House. I don't think they take a bad picture” and tout how Obama “has an enormous brain. He's a hugely capable man.” Then, the “down the center” Williams endorsed Obama's “stimulus” plan: “If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years...”
During this week, NBC’s Tonight Show host Jay Leno took a couple of noteworthy jabs at the anti-Bush mainstream media in America, on Monday joking that the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush was "offered his own show on MSNBC," and on Tuesday quipping that "he was so anti-Bush, at first people just assumed he was an American journalist."
By contrast, CBS’s Late Show host David Letterman used the episode to jab Fox News as he cracked on Tuesday that the "hot head" Iraqi journalist with "poor journalistic skills" was "offered his own show on Fox News." Below are transcripts of the relevant comments from this week’s Tonight Show on NBC and the Late Show on CBS:
Did you know that the election of Barack Obama is the most historic moment in American history?
Well, it is according to "Desperate Housewives" star Teri Hatcher, who during a discussion about her butt -- what is it about liberals and gluteus maximi? -- actually told David Letterman so (video embedded below the fold, those disinterested in hearing her talk about her rearend should forward to 2:00):
No place is safe from expressions from foreigners pleased by Barack Obama's election. On Monday's Late Show, in the midst of demonstrating how to prepare a recipe for squid, British chef Jamie Oliver paused to tell David Letterman:
Can I just say, on behalf of all the people of England, congratulations on your new President. We like him very much.
Letterman replied: “Oh, that's nice to hear. Thank you very much.”
Obama-supporting actor Alec Baldwin was David Letterman's guest on CBS's "Late Show" Wednesday evening, and actually had nice things to say about Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
As Letterman moved the discussion towards Baldwin's cameo appearance with Palin on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" a few weeks ago, the "30 Rock" star said, "She was lovely," and told Dave a delightful story about what she said when they first met:
She said to me, (imitating Palin) "'I've been talking to your (conservative) brother Stephen and we've been chatting, trying to figure out how to knock some sense into you."
Although the interview with Letterman did include some Bush, McCain, and Palin bashing -- what would you expect -- it did have some delightful moments that NewsBusters readers should enjoy (video embedded below the fold):
Appearing on Tuesday's Late Show, Josh Brolin, who plays George W. Bush in Oliver Stone's 'W' movie set to open this weekend, blinked “Vote for Barack Obama.”
Picking up on a monologue joke earlier in the program by David Letterman about how Sarah Palin's blinking is conveying “coded messages,” immediately upon sitting down Brolin pointed to his face as he urged Letterman and viewers: “Watch this.”
He blinked several times, then asked: “You know what that is?” Brolin smugly answered his own question as he smiled and raised his fist in self-satisfaction to audience applause: “Vote for Barack Obama.”
align="right"Catching up with an item from a few days ago: Barry Sonnenfeld, a movie director (Men in Black) and now the Emmy-winning executive producer and director of ABC's dramady Pushing Daisies, predicted on Wednesday's Late Show that amongst the things he's “worried” President Bush will do before leaving office is “go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth.” That was too much for David Letterman, hardly a Bush fan (in June he asked if Bush has “any humanity?”), who responded: “It's just a little bleaker than I would have hoped for -- the idea that he would actually detonate the planet in a moment of despair.”
Sonnenfeld, who speculated about Bush hiding bin Laden, also wondered why Americans wouldn't vote for the “really smart” Barack Obama over John McCain who “finished second to last in his graduating class in college” and Sarah Palin, who “went to five different colleges,” and so “I'm thinking maybe she's got other talents than intelligence.”
With some mix of seriousness and humor you can judge yourself by watching the video clip (though how funny is it to joke about the President as some kind of religious zealot out to murder millions?), Sonnenfeld told Letterman he's “worried since it's October that George Bush will do one of three things: Either find bin Laden, who've they've had somewhere for eight months waiting to bring out” or “let's start a war with Iran. That's always a possibility.” Then:
And here's the third thing -- and I don't know much about the Bible and I'm not a big rapture guy -- but I believe George Bush is and what better way, if your polls are so bad, than to go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth?
align="right'Perfectly encapsulating the coastal left's blind derision of Sarah Palin as an inexperienced “beginner” and thus unqualified, when the very same smart aleck cheap shots about her could be directed at the man with whom they have fallen in love, Barack Obama, David Letterman on Friday night asked guest Brian Williams if the nation can risk “a beginner in the passenger seat” (what about in the driver's seat?) and, in a sexist cheap shot, imitated Palin adjusting her hair during a 9/11 crisis as he impersonated her voice: “How's my hair?” That led an uncomfortable Williams to lean back and sigh, prompting Letterman to acknowledge “that's unfair. I'm sorry.”
Letterman, however spent the first half of Friday's Late Show before Williams came out and most of his time with Williams ridiculing Palin, and McCain for choosing her. Though the NBC Nightly News anchor Williams tried to separate himself from the remarks, and made some gentle counter-points as he preferred to joke about how he's the only one of the three anchors yet to get an interview with Palin, Williams never made the obvious point that much of Letterman's upset over Palin's inexperience could be directed to the top of the competing ticket. Or certainly could have been when he emerged last year as a candidate, but was not.
The Late Show's “Top Ten” list on Thursday's show was read by ten citizens of Wasilla standing on the shore of Lake Lucille. Of the ten, only one really made fun of Palin (#2). To watch Flash video of the presentation, click on the video-camera icon at the top of the list on this page.
After being canceled on by John McCain, CBS late night talk show host David Letterman lit into the GOP presidential candidate in a ten-minute rant on Wednesday's show.
Letterman had originally been scheduled to host McCain on his program but the Arizona senator canceled at the last minute. Letterman claimed McCain had said he was needed back in Washington to help with economic negotiations. He then cut to a live feed from CBS News which showed McCain being made-up for an appearance on Katie Couric's "Evening News."
How the left-leaning comedian got access to that feed has provoked some controversy within CBS with one news division executive saying that had Letterman had that stunt pulled on him, someone would have been fired for it.
Keith Olbermann, who was hardly reticent during the conventions to express his far-left opinions, told David Letterman on Wednesday that he's pleased about being relieved by MSNBC of anchor duties for upcoming debates and on election night since it will enable him “to be on more than I was previously and I can say what I think.” On Wednesday's Late Show, where he filled in at last-minute for his nemesis John McCain, Letterman asked about his removal from the anchor slot along with Chris Matthews. Olbermann expounded:
We're not the anchors any more. We're just going to be commentators...I'm actually going to be on more than I was previously and I can say what I think rather than sit there going “now here's more from such and such over there.”...Basically, I can just sit there between appearances and eat ice cream for 20 minutes at a time and then come back and go “that's the crappiest answer I've ever heard in a debate.”
In suspending his campaign to deal with the bail out bill before the House and Senate, John McCain canceled his appearance on tonight's Late Show with David Letterman, a program to be recorded today in New York City. The show is normally produced at 5:30 PM EDT, but MSNBC reported it was to be taped at 4 PM today.
Minutes ago, the Late Show Web site replaced John McCain in the “Tonight's Guests” list with the far-left ranter/McCain-basher Keith Olbermann of MSNBC.
On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
Guest “Dr. Phil” on Wednesday night chastised David Letterman's misunderstanding of teenage sexual behavior and parental influence after Letterman sarcastically complained that if a President McCain “drops dead...don't you want your President to have had the presence of mind to have chatted to her teenaged kids for five minutes about birth control?” (Letterman delivered the same belittling joke the night before too.)
Referring to Letterman's almost five-year-old son, daytime TV host Phil McGraw, aka “Dr. Phil,” informed Letterman:
Let me tell you something, new dad. If you are under the misapprehension that when Harry is 17 that you are going to have even a remote influence on what he decides in the back seat of a Chevy on a Saturday night -- I don't think old Dave's going to be popping in his mind at that point. It's not a 15-minute conversation. It's a dialogue that you need to have starting when he's about eight or nine.
Undeterred from his contempt for Sarah Palin, Letterman asked: “Then why didn't they have the dialogue?” McGraw suggested: “Maybe they did. But when children get that age, at 17 -- see, here's the thing. The body's grown but the brain is not.” Letterman soon sneered: “They don't sell Trojans in Alaska? Come on,” prompting McGraw to point out: “Wasn't Barack's mother like 18 when he was born?” Indeed she was.
The Tuesday, July 29 episode of the Late Show with David Letterman, during which the “Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident” was produced, but then edited out from what aired for time -- yet accidentally posted with video for a day or so leading to charges, after the text and video were removed from the Late Show site, that CBS spiked the list -- will re-run tonight (Wednesday).
So tune in to see if the list is restored to the show (doubtful), or the show airs again as it did the first time (most likely). Letterman read the list for the studio audience immediately after the second ad break and just before guest Kevin Costner. As originally aired, the show went straight from the ad break to Letterman introducing Costner.
My August 6 NewsBusters item. “Non-Scandal: CBS/Late Show Did Not Spike Anti-Obama 'Top Ten,'” explained the allegations and the reality. I since updated that post with an image of the list as published in the August 11 e-mailed Late Show Newsletter: “From the Home Office in Wahoo, Nebraska...An Exclusive Un-Aired Top Ten List Edited from the 7/29/08 Broadcast: 'Top Ten Signs Barack Obama Is Overconfident.'” Image here is of the list in last week's newsletter. Go below the break to see a larger version.
Despite repeated e-mails NewsBusters received late last week apparently spurred by mis-informed postings elsewhere, I've hesitated, since I considered it so ridiculous, to address the allegation that CBS or David Letterman staffers caved to pressure and removed from the Late Show with David Letterman Web site a “Top Ten” list critical of Barack Obama, the “Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident.” But then last night World Net Daily put the issue back in play with an article which speculated:
Is CBS showing bias toward Barack Obama? The "Late Show with David Letterman" has removed a spoof on Obama from website archives but opted to keep a "Top Ten" list ripping John McCain from the previous evening -- and show representatives are denying any knowledge of the missing clip.
As a David Letterman fan who has watched his show nearly every night since 1982 -- though I have been disappointed by his recent left-wing political rants on the show -- I can provide a simple explanation which involves no effort to hide the list: The list, prepared for, and presented on, the Tuesday, July 29 show was, as happens many times each year, edited from the program because later interview segments with Kevin Costner and/or Bob Sarlatte ran long. The purpose of the Late Show site is to post highlights from the show and since Letterman's reading of it did not air on the program as broadcast on CBS the list should not have been posted. Yet it was put up, along with video of Letterman reading it (hence why there is YouTube video of it that makes it appear the list did air on the show), by mistake. When that error was realized the list, and matching video, were removed -- as they should have been.
(Updated below with confirmation obtained by National Review's Byron York.) UPDATE, August 13: As predicted below, the August 11 e-mailed Late Show Newsletter features: "From the Home Office in Wahoo, Nebraska...An Exclusive Un-Aired Top Ten List Edited from the 7/29/08 Broadcast: 'Top Ten Signs Barack Obama Is Overconfident.'" JPG image of the Top Ten in the newsletter. (Also displayed below)
David Letterman, who a month ago doubted George Bush and Dick Cheney have any “humanity,” on Wednesday's Late Show pushed a guest to confirm “that George Bush's administration is clearly guilty of war crimes.” Far-left “journalist” Jane Mayer of the New Yorker was invited onto the Late Show to plug her new book, 'The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.' Late in her second segment, Letterman recalled how “about a year ago” a Democratic presidential candidate was a guest and during a commercial break Letterman had wondered:
“What do you think George Bush's legacy might be?” And he says, “well, I tell you what ought to happen to him, he should be arrested and tried for war crimes.” And we all sort of thought, well, he's being wacky, he's being funny. But now, you wonder...
After Mayer suggested “I don't think they're laughing about it in the White House” and relayed how “in Congress there are people who are at least pushing for truth commissions,” Letterman pressed her: “But can a case be made that George Bush's administration is clearly guilty of war crimes? That's easy enough to make that case, or.” Mayer demurred: “I'm not a lawyer.”
Channeling Keith Olbermann, David Letterman on Wednesday night proposed to guest Scott McClellan that President Bush and Vice President Cheney “just couldn't care less about Americans” since “all they really want to do is somehow kiss up to the oil people so they can get some great annuity when they're out of office,” and so he marveled: “Is there any humanity in either of these guys?” Letterman's conspiratorial rant:
My feeling about Cheney, and also Bush, but especially Cheney is that he just couldn't care less about Americans. And the same is true of George Bush. And all they really want to do is somehow kiss up to the oil people so they can get some great annuity when they're out of office. [audience applause] “There you go Dick [hand motion of distributing cash], nice job. There's a couple of billion for your troubles.” I mean, he pretty much put Halliburton in business and the outsourcing of the military resources to private mercenary groups and so forth. Is there any humanity in either of these guys?
Tom Brokaw came aboard Monday's Late Show to promote his book, Boom! Voices of the Sixties: Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today, but soon chided David Letterman with some historical context after Letterman forwarded standard liberal claims about how the America of 2008 is in a “horrible” state thanks to the awful President George W. Bush, and when Letterman fretted about government inaction on global warming, Brokaw embarrassed the late night host by pointing out how he's a big carbon-producer since he drives a big vehicle and flies executive jets.
On the terrible state of the nation, Letterman contended “everything...has gone so lousy in the last eight years” so “things are horrible in ways they shouldn't be horrible.” Brokaw pointed to his book about 1968, and delivered a friendly lecture:
Let me remind you that forty years ago this year, Doctor King was killed, Bobby Kennedy was killed, we had the Chicago riots, 16,000 people were killed in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election, the Kerner Commission said we are two societies -- one white, one black, separate and unequal -- we had urban riots and in the fall we had as cantankerous and as contentious and in many way as mentally violent an election as we've ever had...
Similarly assuming the present is the worst ever, Letterman complained: “People are all talking about, 'okay we're going to change the emissions by 2035, by 2020.' That's too late. I mean, it's a hundred degrees now!” Letterman pleaded: “It's got to come from the government. They have to lead us.” Brokaw agreed, but then made the host uncomfortable:
BROKAW: The government has to lead and those of us who drive -- uhh uhh -- big carbon-emitting vehicles or fly in airplanes that have only two passengers on them-
"Late Show" viewers must be starting to wonder whether David Letterman hates old people or just John McCain.
Maybe more important, is the host having a hard time hiding his support for Barack Obama?
Take for example Thursday's opening monologue. As the topic changed to the presidential campaign, Letterman focused most of his comedic attacks on the GOP frontrunner and also-ran Ralph Nader while actually not offering one joke about Barack Obama.
For those interested, here was the joke tally from Thursday's monologue:
"I like how you think, senator," cooed "Late Show" host David Letterman in agreement with John Edwards's charge that "most of what" Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly says "is crap."
Letterman had asked the former senator about his "feud" with O'Reilly over Edwards's charge that the Bush administration is failing to care for military veterans to the extent that hundreds of thousands are winding up homeless.
The exchange came in a jovial January 22 interview in which Edwards joked about having Letterman as his running mate, or at the very least as a celebrity endorser a la Oprah Winfrey.
If things don't work out for Hillary with this presidential thing, she can always do stand-up out in LA. Or not. If you didn't catch her side-splitter on last night's Letterman, you can view it here, as rebroadcast on MSNBC this morning.
For those taking nitrates who might not want to risk a sudden drop in blood pressure by watching the clip, here's the text of Hillary's rib tickler:
Dave has been off the air for eight long weeks because of the writers' strike. Tonight he's back. Oh well. All good things come to an end.
According to an email I've received from her campaign, the intrepid Hillary is venturing into the lion's den, with TV appearances scheduled tonight on Letterman and September 4 on the Ellen DeGeneres show. Daring stuff!
In any case, according to the email:
Ellen is soliciting questions from her viewers to ask of Hillary, and we want to turn it around on her. So if you have a question for Hillary to ask Ellen, submit it here.