John Friedman’s column about David Letterman’s infidelity, posted on his Web site Monday, was titled “Can Dave still make us laugh amid a scandal?” Friedman has to be kidding. Letterman’s got a whole pile of folks in hysterics. Sure they may not be laughing with Letterman, but they’re sure laughing at him.
So here’s my top 10 list of people having a justifiable side-splitting good time at Letterman’s expense.
Number 10: Madonna. “Why are you so obsessed with my sex life?” Madonna asked Dave after he introduced her as a person who had slept with countless members of the entertainment industry. And David replied, “Because I have none of my own.” Ha! Funny stuff, Pinocchio!
Number 9: People walking down the streets of New York. Letterman mocks them on his mock game show by displaying their ignorance. They’ll be happy to see how adept he’s become at exposing his own.
Number 8: Sienna Miller. While she appeared on the Letterman show to stump for her movie “Factory Girl,” Letterman replayed a clip from a morning TV program taped earlier that week during which she used profanity thinking she was off camera. She hid her head in her hands as Letterman showed the clip. He then countered with “What the f— do you care” — proving even before his wife’s shameful public humiliation that he can be a hypocrite at a moment’s notice.
Number 7: Joaquin Phoenix. When the acclaimed actor appeared on Letterman’s show earlier this year sporting an unkempt beard that masked his rugged good looks, Letterman commented to him, “What can you tell us about your days with the Unabomber?” Too bad Joaquin didn’t know then what we all know now. He might have retorted with “I’ll be watching the night you drop your infidelity bomb and see you tell the whole world that you only confessed because someone was ratting you out; much like the Unabomber.”
Number 6: Paris Hilton. Hilton, thinking she was going on the Letterman show to discuss her new line of perfume, ended up talking about her time in the slammer. Letterman asked inane questions about the foods she ate while in the crowbar motel. Now that Letterman’s eating a little crow of his own, Hilton surely knows that no matter what else Letterman does or how he tries to move on, this transgression is all folks will talk about for quite some time.
Number 5: Emeril Lagasse. Letterman asked Martha Stewart, who had paid $50 million to acquire the Emeril franchise, if Emeril was now her “butt boy.” Emeril may have smirked a little at this week’s revelation thinking that while he — at least — was paid $50 million for his name, Letterman ruined his own name for free.
Number 4: Wal-Mart greeters. When Letterman decided to make fun of 2008 presidential candidate John McCain — not for his political views but for looking like a Wal-Mart greeter — I wondered if any of the tens of thousands of Wal-Mart greeters would still watch the program. Why is being compared to a Wal-Mart greeter an insult? And now that Letterman is a subject of ridicule himself, he can only hope that folks make fun of his looks and not his actions.
Number 3: Eastern Europeans. See above reference comparing Wal-Mart greeters to Sen. McCain. Letterman compared Rush Limbaugh to an Eastern European gangster. Why would Eastern European make worse gangsters than those of another ethnicity? Certainly with the political differences between them, Dave could have said something dignified rather than an ethnic slam. Indeed it’s now that the similarities between the two talk show hosts seem most evident. They both have the same style: insults and irrelevant attacks instead of facts.
Numbers 2 and 1: Sarah Palin and her family. Maybe when a man engaging in an illicit affair jokes about New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez “knocking up” one of Sarah Palin’s daughters it seems funny to him. Tsk! Tsk!
Really, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Especially if they — like David Letterman — have a better stone-throwing arm than Alex Rodriguez has for throwing baseballs.
Canadian author Peter McArthur was right, “A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself and then says them about other people.” But hypocrisy just isn’t funny.
Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” She may be reached at PatLaMarche@hotmail.com.