Changing the subject

Each day, Mike McIntee, a writer for “Late Show With David Letterman,” posts “The Wahoo Gazette,” a breezy, sometimes tongue-in-cheek recap of the previous night’s show, on the “Late Show” web site. The recap is broken down by “acts,” or segments, of the program. Everything until the first commercial break is Act One, everything between the first and second breaks is Act Two, and so on. I think this is pretty standard terminology.

I had to laugh when looking at today’s issue, a recap of last night’s show. Here is the recap of Act 2, in its entirety:

ACT 2:
Hey! How ‘bout them Mets?!

Act 2, of course, was when the big (and awkward) announcement happened last night. I don’t guess it lent itself to a funny recap.

Dave, meet Elmo

There’s a particular station break during “Late Show with David Letterman” when announcer Alan Kalter usually says something funny, and tonight it threw me for a loop. He started talking about Worldwide Pants (Letterman’s production company) and Sesame Workshop presenting a prime-time special on PBS intended to help parents talk to young kids about economic hardship. I kept waiting for the punch line, and there wasn’t one. It turns out that Worldwide Pants was a partner in the production of the special.

In addition to “Late Show,” Worldwide Pants produces “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” and it also produced the TV show “Ed” and was involved with “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Anyway, good for them for being involved in something like this. Given the current atmosphere for public TV, and that economy, I doubt it was much of a money-making project for Dave. And good for CBS for letting them promote it during “Late Show.”

Jumping dogs, Howie Mandel, and Crystal’s kids

Letterman’s week-in-review video is pretty funny this week, including the “Beavis and Butthead” appearance I referenced in an earlier post.

By the way, Dave’s mock annoyance with Neil Patrick Harris is because there’s some sort of CBS promotional magazine called “Watch” — Dave hadn’t heard of it either — which had Harris on the cover, promoting his sitcom. Dave responded in mock outrage, demanding to know why the magazine had never done a cover or a story about him.

And (although you could probably figure this out) the young woman whose parents Dave inquires about is Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore.

Two old friends drop by

Jason Bateman was on Letterman tonight, promoting the new Mike Judge-directed movie “Extract.” Judge’s past projects, of course, include “Office Space” and the TV show “King of the Hill.” But when it came time to set up the inevitable clip from “Extract,” Bateman didn’t do it himself. Oh, no. That task fell to the two characters who first brought Mr. Judge to our attention: Beavis and Butthead.

Letterman, of course, is such a “Beavis and Butthead” fan that he and director Richard Linklater provided the voices of two dim-witted Motley Crue roadies, presumed to be the boys’ absent fathers, in the feature film “Beavis and Butthead Do America.” He once said in an interview that he loved the way the characters were so consistent — always written and performed in a way that was true to their comic sensiblities, or what have you. I know exactly what he meant. I know some people hated them, and they were even held out as an example of the dumbing-down of our nation’s youth. But they really were sharply drawn, in a fearless way that valued humor over anything else.

Even though “King of the Hill” was a gentler humor, it had the same quality — you knew exactly what Hank was, what his priorities were, and part of the humor was your anticipation when something happened that you knew was going to push his buttons. Hank and Bobby and Dale and Peggy and Luann were fixed points, and I mean that in a good way.

Anyway, it was fun to see B&B return, if only for ten seconds.

And them, too

The Late Show with David Letterman will have some outstanding musical segments the week of March 2-6.
On Monday night, the musical guests will be … U2.
On Tuesday night, the musical guests will be … U2.
On Wednesday night (do you begin to see a pattern here?) the musical guests will be … U2.
On Thursday night, the musical guests will be … U2.
And on Friday night, the musical guest will be … Celine Dion. No, wait, I was misinformed; it turns out the musical guests will be … U2.
This brings to mind Bruce Springsteen’s interview with Bob Costas on the day of the Super Bowl. Costas noted that Springsteen had been sought many times as a Super Bowl halftime performer. Why had he suddenly agreed this year?
“It’s not rocket science,” he told Costas. “I’ve got an album to promote.”

When Dave met Billy

When Letterman announced that tonight’s “Late Show” would include Julianne Moore plus Morgan Spurlock plus the winner of the National Spelling Bee plus a performance by the cast of “South Pacific,” I thought, “well, that’s a pretty full show. No room for anything else.”

But about 15 minutes in, I was proven wrong. Some city slicker did a walk-on to promote the release of a new DVD edition of one of his most popular movies.

I love the way that Paul Shaffer sometimes plays “Thanks for the Memories” to accompany such surprise walk-ons, a joking reference to the days when Bob Hope would be taping one of his NBC specials and would turn up on the Carson show unannounced.

UPDATE: The announced guest list turned out to be a red herring: the spelling bee winner wasn’t the real spelling bee winner but a thirty-something actor doing a comedy bit.

Jamba Joint

This week’s Late Show Rewind (the weekly highlight reel posted at the “Late Show” web site) starts with the hysterical “Jamba Juice” incident featuring Dave, Paul and eventually Kevin Spacey, and it also includes a great zinger from Harrison Ford, and Dave’s (bleeped) slip of the tongue pronouncing “Sex And The City.”