My DVR was set to record David Letterman tonight. It’s been a long time since I did that. His show is must see TV for me this week, because it’s “Impressionist Week.”
I love impressionists. I remember watching them perform on Ed Sullivan when I was a kid. They did voices that made my parents laugh, based on references I didn’t get at the time. My dad’s laugh of approval was good enough for me.
I knew Rich Little would have to be part of the Letterman line-up at some point, but I didn’t expect him to be the first up.
Thirty years ago… can that be right… Thirty years ago, Rich Little was as hot as a comedian gets. The intervening years hadn’t been kind. I saw him a while ago and he was lackluster – like a guy just going through the motions.
I forget what show he was on, but it demanded more than just an impressionist. As a person, he seemed drab and cold.
Obviously, my hopes were not high as he walked out. The first thing I noticed was his hair. I’m 56 and people complain, thinking mine’s colored (it’s not). Little has twelve years on me and has bright brown hair.
Maybe I’m wrong about his hair as people are about mine. I doubt it, but maybe.
He started his act doing Dr. Phil – and he killed. I am thrilled to say, Rich Little was as good tonight as I’ve ever seen him. I was happy for him – happy for me.
He then proceeded to run through some ‘names.’ He was Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Andy Rooney.
He finished with his signature, Johnny Carson. As fresh as Johnny is in my mind, that show hasn’t been on since 1992! And, I’ve seen Rich Little do Carson a zillion times.
This time, he began with a new set-up (at least for me), explaining how his inspiration for the Carson impression came after seeing an ostrich at the zoo. Without saying a word, he began posturing, shifting his body and moving his head.
He was Johnny Carson before he spoke a word! He killed some more. And then he did a silly, slightly off color Carnac joke. Letterman’s audience ate it up.
Is it possible for a performer to ever get too used to… to be blas