Celebri-spiral™: Enough Already

Our culture is in a celebri-spiral. We're conflicted over our ridiculous, growing celebrity culture consumption via magazines, websites, and TV shows. In 2007, my love/hate conflict made me take to the blog-o-sphere. All writing on this site © Dave Singleton 2009.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

February 1, 2007: 25 Years of Celebri-spirals on Late Night with Dave

"Memories, light the corners of my...celebri-spiral..."

Tonight's episode of The Late Show With David Letterman marks Letterman’s 25th anniversary as a late-night host, the last 10 spent on CBS.

David Letterman is a smart-ass extraordinaire, as well as both an enabler and iconoclast for celebrity culture. Forget the fact that pop culture brands like the "top 10 list” didn't exist before, and that he took Johnny Carson's smart, wry, late-night-talk-show edge and ran with it (Jon Stewart, kiss Dave's ring).

Dave's real claim to fame is that he's caused many celebri-spirals, of two varieties:

1) The ones in which celebrities lose it in one form or another. Cher called him an asshole. Shirley Maclaine spent three minutes in the hot seat and told him that Cher was right. Courtney Love and Drew Barrymore took turns flashing their boobs at him. Farrah had her biggest meltdown with him. Madonna said f*ck about forty times in one airing. Oprah came on to tell him to quit fueling rumors of a feud with her.

2) Those that happen to me when I get too immersed in celebrities' lives. I've definitely had a few celebri-spirals while watching Dave, Paul and the band; getting far too excited every time Julia Roberts appears, being way too interested in George Clooney's friendships, and thinking I actually know intimate details of Madonna's personal life, after a few minutes of her highness in the hot seat.

Of all the talk shows, his is one of my favorites for celeb-watching. He keeps the stars on edge. You see things in his famous guests that you don't see in other, more pat talk shows. You get glimpses of edgy humor, craziness, defensiveness, blunt honesty, and impatience.

But you don't get much from the man himself. It's fascinating to me that no one knows Dave very well. By most accounts, he's shy, reclusive, and wary. This seems to be the M.O. of many talk show hosts, from Johnny Carson to Jay Leno. They spend their professional careers enabling celebrity, and their personal lives avoiding it, at least as it pertains to them. I wish someone would stick Dave in a petri dish and scientifically deduce why that is.

Happy 25th, Dave. For some fun celeb-remembrances, check out the NY Daily News list of Dave's great 'Late' moments and CBS's archive of top ten lists.


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