David Letterman’s ratings are falling like the stuff he used to toss off of buildings back in the day. Big Hollywood’s Christian Toto speculates that it might be because the normally warm and cuddly Dave is letting politics stifle his comedy:
Leno continues to pound the president as the daily headlines demand. He does so without venom–he’s merely mocking the powerful as he’s been doing ever since taking over for Johnny Carson in 1992.
Letterman, by contrast, avoids Obama jokes in his monologues. When he does serve one up, he looks as if he’d rather be anywhere else but on the Late Show set.
Toto has a point. In May, Letterman started trying to shame Senators who opposed gun control with a “Stooge of the Night” segment. Here’s one for Ted Cruz:
Setting aside the amateur-hour graphics that look like a middle schooler found an outdated version of Windows Moviemaker, it’s just not funny – and it gets less funny as the tortured segment drags out. When Letterman made fun of George W. Bush for sounding like a dunce, it didn’t always sound like Dave had an ax to grind. There was a setup and a punchline. There’s a difference between being sarcastic (or even caustic) and ranting about an issue because you have a TV show and you can.
“Conservative entertainment” gets deserved criticism for ignoring quality in pursuit of a made point. Now, the once-hilarious Letterman is writing a textbook on it from the other side.
You know, this kind of crap didn’t happen on Hal Gurnee’s watch.