Cultural Reminiscing of Late Twentieth Century Television, with Practical Applications You Can Try at Home!
I always thought one of the most brilliant bits of television comedy writing over the past few decades was David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists. The Top Ten List was a nightly feature on both Late Night with David Letterman, and The Late Show with David Letterman, after Dave made the jump from NBC to CBS.
The Top Ten List was a nightly ritual. The first commercial break would end, and a long camera shot from the audience would center on Paul Schaffer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band ending a tune mid-measure by holding out whatever note they were playing, while a series of Hammy B3 runs would end with Paul cuing the band to silence. Sometimes that night’s musical guest would sit in with the band. A lot of times, David Sanborn would sit in with the band, adding a dizzying array of runs, finishing with a ridiculously high-even-for-an-alto-saxophone note.
I bit through a lot of reeds trying to hit some of those notes. Continue reading