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May 1994


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Brian Rose <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 19 May 1994 16:37:32 -0400
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Mary Kalfatovic is right about Letterman's specific appeal to aging baby
boomers about "it's hip to be square," but that doesn't factor in his
incredible popularity not just with college kids, but as CBS demographers
proudly note--women of all ages.  I'm surprised to discover how many people
I know in their fifties (and older) who now watch him regularly since he's
come on at 11:30.  Like all the best hosts in that time period, he combines
an impish charm and a sly wit that now seems (unlike his foray at 12:30) to
reach everybody.  Compare him to the pathetic Leno, and you'll recognize
that Dave has been transformed into a true TV personality, like Benny, like
Carson, and only a few others, who literally define the popular culture
spirit in a few important way.
Re your question regarding Saturday Night Live--the show has always been
targeted at young men in the teens to lower 20s (its producer Lorne Michaels
is the first to admit this) which is why, perhaps, as we (uh-hmm) AGE its
humor seems progressively more retrograde and juvenile.  Perhaps an apt
comparison would be the readership of MAD magazine, which also outgrows
what once seemed the emblem of cutting edge humor.
Brian Rose
Fordham University