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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why I Still Love Letterman.

The ending of the last episode of "The Colbert Report", where he found every celebrity in town, and probably some who made a special trip in, got them on stage, and led them in a sing-along to the tune of "We'll Meet Again", was most-likely the greatest thing on TV in at least the last few months.
It was spectacularly done.
And there was an overlay of true sadness.
But something that was on the next night, very similar in nature, was a very close second in terms of greatness.
I have found a lot of reasons lately to not particularly care whether or not I would watch Letterman.
He repeats the same jokes over and over.
He does the first five minutes purely for the studio audience, at the expense of the home audience.
You can always tell when he is bored with a guest, which is way too often.
A lot of times, he seems to be phoning it in, and is off his game.
But Letterman revives several "traditions" around Christmastime that are usually spread over several shows.
For the first time that I can recall, he did all four on the same show, which only enhanced the impact of each.
He began by having Paul Shaffer do his hilarious impression of Cher singing "Oh Holy Night" as she had done it on the old "Sonny and Cher Variety Hour", preceded by his introduction to it, which is at least as funny as the impression itself.
It would not be Christmas for me without it.
Then, Dave brought out actor-deejay Jay Thomas, as he has annually for 22 years, to tell what Dave always announces as the greatest talk-show story ever.
It involves Jay's personal encounter with Clayton Moore, who was working a car dealership opening as his signature character, The Lone Ranger.
Jay was also working the gig as the local deejay on radio.
It is, indeed, the greatest talk-show story ever.
Then they segued into the annual "Quarterback Challenge", where Jay and Dave took turns attempting to knock a meatball off of the top of the very tall Christmas tree on the set.
As usual, Jay was the winner.
As Dave led him offstage with a sincere goodbye, Jay said to him "This is it. I'm never going to see you ever again, am I."
And Dave said "Nope. You never will."
And once again, there was this overlay of sadness.
He won't ever see him again.
We have all witnessed this for the last time.
Oh, it's all on YouTube.
Many years of it.
But it will never be new again.
This is sad.
Then, Dave brought out Josh Brolin, who seemed hopelessly out of place in the proceedings.
He dispensed of him shortly, and then brought out the last tradition, Darlene Love, to sing her classic "Christmas", recreating the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" with a slew of musicians and backup singers.
And it, too, was glorious.
And it, too can be found on earlier incarnations on YouTube.
It was a great, great show, and, unfortunately, the last of it's kind, as Letterman won't be around next Christmas.
Let's all be glad we had him around as long as we did.


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



  1. I think what set Letterman apart was his eye for what might work on television that others hadn't tried. Darlene Love singing that song is a great example. The first time she sang it on the old show in 1986, it was just her and Paul's four piece band. Halfway through it, you can see the drummer and the bass player exchange smiles as if they realize how special the moment is. The other night the same four were still there, surrounded by a terrific group of musicians and singers.

    Best wishes for the holiday season to you and yours!

  2. Your review caused me to go to and watch this episode. Thank you for alerting me to it. It was great to see these holiday traditions again for the last time.
    When Dave was in his prime, for a few years after he switched from NBC to CBS, his great strength (and that of his writers) was staging antics that appeared to be completely unplanned and spontaneous. The show would be suddenly interrupted by a completely crazy stunt. He’d take the cameras outside and do something funny. It was the element of surprise at its best. His humor was always edgy and sharper than his competition. Dave has brought me laughs and smiles for decades. I’ll miss him, but maybe it’s time for him to fade into the horizon.
    I also loved the star-studded Colbert finale, and I’m anxious to learn what his real (?) persona will look like, and if it will work as well as the character he’s played for several years. I’m rooting for him, but I remember too well when Pat Sajak, enormously successful on Wheel of Fortune, tried to do a late night show. Oops!
    Looking forward to more Rothman commentary in the new year. Happy 2015!

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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."