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Published:August 28th, 2009 12:20 EST
Letterman Losing It

Letterman Losing It

By Mark Frederic Jennings

     ... and I know. It`s hard to watch. Because maybe like you too, I `m a pretty big Letterman fan. For years and years he`s entertained me nightly. Even going as far back as the early eighties when he first started and I`d get off my job at the gas station around ten thirty and get home and grab some grub and a cold beer and kick back and have a blast chowing down and chuckling with Dave and Paul Schaefer and Larry Bud Mellman and Chris Eliot and whoever else might pop up in their zany skits full of original, almost insane comedy.

    But nowadays I just don`t know. I still watch, especially now that I`m not working nights anymore, and a pretty ugly thing has been happening on the show. Not that they don`t still have some real funny skits, and the band has never sounded better, and one thing really great about the show now is how they showcase some of the best musical groups out there and the sound is just awesome. And too Dave has never been better at interviewing his guests which usually are at least somewhat interesting. Yet the ugliness of which I earlier alluded too always pops up right at the beginning, in Dave`s monologue.

   And the reason I have also referenced the show`s problem as having to do with the fact that Dave may be losing his mental bearings, and possibly even becoming senile, is because he is using the same jokes and gags over and over again in that opening portion of his program. And not the least bit shamefacedly. Almost as if he has entirely forgotten that he used them just the night before. Like when your ancient mother-in-law your forced to house reminds you about a dozen times in the same day to please pick-up a new tube of poli-grip for her next time you go to the store. Or like when you have to show her maybe a million times that the wastebasket with the world, "Recycle," on it in big black letters is for recyclable materials only, and not the remnants of her tuna sandwich.

   Like right now as I`m watching and for probably the fifteenth time in three nights straight Dave has a faux section of the studio audience, and all of them young females, react wildly to just the mention of the name, "Ben Bernanke." A gag which he also used with another male politician`s name just the week prior for a similarly mind numbing number of times. And also with the whole Bernie Madoff thing, which I understand using the same theme for any number of jokes, especially a sort of  arch enemy of the state like that  scoundrel has become, but how many times do we need to be told about his cellmate Ralph, or how when Bernie used to french kiss his mistress her gold fillings came up missing, and on and on.

   All of which is pretty funny stuff. Once or twice. But like I`m saying, and if you regularly watch the show I`m sure you`ve noticed it too, that the thirteenth and fourteenth time you`ve heard them... well. It`s just sort of sad.

   So I don`t know. And I`m sure Dave`s not really senile or anything. At least not yet. But something funny is going on over there at CBS studios in Rockefeller plaza. Maybe just a shortage of writers. And maybe I should try and get a job over there. Manhattan is so awesome after all. But the way my writing career is going, I`ll be senile before anyone hires me. Does that mean I`ll fit right in? Hey... yeah... maybe there`s hope for me yet.