January 17, 2000
The would-be Senator meets Dave - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
VANCOUVER - Even though Reege and NYPD Blue outdrew the competition this past week, the biggest story on television was Hillary Clintonís appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Daveís been cajoling the First Lady to come on his show, even taunting Mrs. Clinton. Well, she said yes and she went on Wednesday night and guess what, Dave beat Jay for the first time since Hugh Grant made his appearance on The Tonight Show back in 1996. Letís see if your remembering goes back this far...
It was 1992, Johnny Carson retired and NBC named Jay Leno his successor on the landmark Tonight Show. Letterman was incensed and left the post-Tonight slot of 12:30 AM to go over to CBS and go head-to-head with Leno. The initial three years were a big success for Dave and CBS. Dave made millions, and CBS finally got its foot in the door with a late night talker. Then in 1996 Hugh Grant got caught soliciting a hooker. Divine Brown, was her name and a week or so later, the talented Mr. Grant made an appearance on The Tonight Show, which beat Daveís numbers since. Lettermanís made some blunders, one of them his handling of the Oscars in 1995. Well, heís hit his creative all time high, winning two back-to-back Emmyís and the numbers finally came with Mrs. Clinton.
It was a tactical move for Hillary, but Iím hardpressed to think Dave does too. Clinton has no chance in hell in making a go with winning the Senate race in New York. Rudy Gulianni is so damned strong with voters, I think Clinton wonít pull it off. Sheís had a hell of a time trying to prove herself as a New Yorker. Some donít think she is, also no matter how many times she can sport a Yankees cap or her recall in being able to know the bluebird is New Yorkís state bird, Gulianni will cream her.
Then again, you never know. Her appearance, as much as its getting dissected by the pundits, sort of helped her. It made her escape the facade of the nationís First Lady status, and it also made her a titch more human. (Like thatíll help her any.) The person who got helped most though, was Dave. David Letterman is back and although he looked visibly nervous and off the mark with his trademark snide sarcasm, the viewers tuned in. Then we got the news on Friday, that Dave had to undergo quadruple by-pass heart surgery to clear up a blocked arteries. I was really surprised to hear that, because Daveís a real outdoors person, and he keeps healthy. What a week, for Letterman: his highest numbers in years and then this thing with his ticker. Heíll make it through this well and when he gets back, letís hope the viewers come pouring in. Not only is the best talker on the market, heís also the funniest.
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