Dave rocks!!! (Leno sucks, sucks, sucks!!!)!!

Letterman’s antics unpredictable
Have you seen Late Show With David Letterman lately? It’s like Dave has taken a time machine back to the Twilight Zone. Some recent examples:
– Suddenly, in the middle of a show, Letterman is interrupted by a weatherman. “Hey everybody, is rain gonna put a damper on your morning commute? I’ll have that and my five-day forecast coming up in the weather.”
“Huh?” Letterman asks bandleader Paul Shaffer. “Who was that?”
Shaffer just shrugs.
– A camera shot suddenly droops to the floor. What gives, Letterman asks. “Oh, sorry,” says cameraman Dave Dorsett. “It was so quiet in here I assumed the show was over.”
– Letterman is interrupted with a knock. “Housekeeping!” says a hotel housekeeper pushing a cart. She gets half-way to Letterman’s desk when the host asks if she could come back in an hour.
Bizarre interruptions have become the norm. A woman (costume designer Susan Hum) approaches the desk and offers “freshly baked turkey pot pie.” It’s cold, complains Letterman. “You make me want to puke!” she rants.
Another night, Letterman seems trapped in a satellite cross-feed between PBS commentator Charlie Rose and Bob Woodward. It is wacky, unpredictable, unsettling — and fabulous. This was the Live and Dangerous Dave we all knew and loved 20 years ago. It is great to have him back.
“He has been on a little zany streak lately,” agrees Letterman pal Regis Philbin, who spoke to The Toronto Sun on Monday. Philbin mentions that “World’s Oldest Page” guy Johnny Dark who keeps interrupting the monologue.
“I kind of admire that about Dave,” says Philbin of all the new risks. “It’s still the most imaginative show on TV.”
Even Letterman’s hair has gone retro. Long the butt of his own jokes, he has raked what’s left of his greying locks forward. At 59, he looks, well, 49.
What’s behind the return to form? In September, Letterman signed a new contract with CBS extending his late night antics through 2010 — a year after rival Jay Leno’s planned Tonight Show exit.
That will also put Letterman’s combined NBC/CBS late-night run right behind the 30-year reign of his idol, Johnny Carson.
The new energy has goosed the ratings. Letterman has seen double-digit year-to-year percent increases in total viewers and key demographics. The show now averages 4.02 million U.S. viewers a night.
After a winter and spring where Letterman often seemed listless, bored and out of gas (that free pass he gave Tom Cruise, for example), he’s shaken himself out of it by shaking up his show. The approach is not entirely new; people were randomly dangling and shouting from the Ed Sullivan Theater balcony last season, for example. Contrived interruptions have always been part of the mix — just not to this extent.
Now, besides the nightly Top 10 List, shots at George Bush (those lethal “Great Moments In Presidential Speeches”), Larry King (“Creepier In Slow Motion”) and Kim Jong Il (cut to footage of fright-haired “Hello Dere” comic Marty Allen), there is an added nightly bonus of improv theatre.
Opening guests who are clearly not who they claim to be are given the same face time as Alec Baldwin, Robin Williams or Amanda Peet. A guy introduced as “the Turtle Whisperer” stuck little hats onto a box turtle before flipping out and fleeing the stage. Another phony guest, introduced as a former KGB instructor known as “The Dog Wizard,” did lame tricks with a Lab. Letterman just played along.
NFL commentator John Madden is introduced, except it is clearly not John Madden, it is some guy (comedian Frank Caliendo) in a white wig pretending to be Madden. Letterman just lets him pretend, getting his Super Bowl picks.
Besides creating an unpredictable comedy environment — one you want to check out every night in case you miss something — Letterman is also shredding this whole obsession with celebrity. Celebrity is pointless, Letterman is saying. Be silly. Make everything up. Works for me.