Letterman, Leno, Conan? Does it matter?

In conversation with a few friends over a few drinks at the frequented hipish watering hole in Rochester, the topic of late night television came up. In my coming- of-age, I have watched a lot of television. After school was for Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, and later, Saved by the bell and Fresh Prince of The-Only-Rap-Song-Most-People-Can-Pick-Out-Of-A-Few-Words. Prime time was for Degrassi Jr. High, the brief but cult-fanned My So-Called Jared Leto, and eventually Seinfeld, which I followed to the bitter, coughing end. I figured out the time-date function on the VCR and started taping Saturday Night Live in the early 90s, and then later taped David Letterman, mostly for the musical guests, because I never got the jokes.

I never stayed up late enough on weeknights to watch late night talk shows. I remember a few funny moments on Letterman (pumpkin launching), but for the most part, its not a world I ever immersed myself into. While living on the Left Coast, one of our geek friends feverishly pronounced his love for Letterman, which made Hubs and I go madly off in the opposite direction (Mulrooney Chin Jay Leno). I don’t know if I like either enough to profess undying love for one over the other. Usually, I take the underdog seat, and since it seems Jay Leno is the underdog, on both Left and Right coasts, among educated people (as he has the highest rating according to the all-seeing eye of Wikipedia), he’s my pick. Jaywalking is pretty funny, because I’m immature and like the Rick Mercer style of picking on dumb people. And the crazy-laugh girl was funny, again, picking on dumb people (Little Bush?).

Why does picking sides have to result in identity formation? Why does perception of people change with their identifying trait as Letterman fan, Leno fan, or, Conan fan? I am a fan of anything funny, smart, and relevant, regardless of who delivers the line.

And truthfully, when it comes down to it, I think the important question to ask is not: “Leno, Letterman, or Conan?”, but: “Kevin Eubanks or Paul Shaffer? (We all know Andy Richter would beat them both, pants down.”)

Damn my maple leaf on my sleeve, but i friggin HATE Paul Shaffer.


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