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February 25, 2013

Seth McFarlane, Barack Obama, and Rush Limbaugh's Observation About David Letterman's Sudden Fans

A long, long, long time ago Rush had an observation about David Letterman's fans that I didn't agree with, at all.

At the time.

Now I get it: He was completely right.

This was back when David Letterman was completely apolitical, so none of this was due to Limbaugh's animus about Letterman's politics. In fact, at this time, Letterman was suspected of being a "nonvoting Republican" (as one of his writers, I think, guessed to the media).

So, Letterman had gone on CBS at 11:30 and instantly zoomed to the top of the ratings. Everyone Loved Dave.

Limbaugh -- again, not making a political observation but a purely human one -- said that that would not last, and that the people suddenly watching Letterman did not really find Letterman funny, but were simply being told by people who were funny that he was funny and so were claiming to find him funny.

Limbaugh probably (though I don't remember if this is true) noted that if these new viewers really liked Letterman's humor, nothing previously prevented them from VCRing the long-running 12:30 am NBC Letterman show every night and then watching it the following evening. (Yes, these were the days of the VCR, and yes, I used to do that myself).

So he just didn't believe that these people really liked Letterman. They had had more-than-ample previous opportunities to like Letterman, and had passed on them all.

This is just hype, he said, and the herd mentality of people; if enough people say It's Popular, they'll follow along.

But not forever. Because while people will watch a show for a while to be part of the It's Popular crowd, ultimately they'll find it to be too much of a labor and will start doing what they actually prefer.

Now, at the time, I was a Dave Letterman Super Fan. I loved the guy's humor. I'd been watching him since he would guest host on Carson. So I thought Rush was just crabbing here, maybe being jealous of another broadcaster's success. No, I judged, Rush is quite wrong; people love Letterman because he's always been super-funny and only now are they really catching up with Cult Opinion on the matter.

But we all know how that turned out. Jay Leno did one high-visibility show-- the Hugh Grant appearance -- and from that moment on all half of Dave's Super-Fans moved immediately, and irretrievably, to Leno's camp.

I was thinking about this as I read this Mediaite writer claiming Serious You Guys, Seth McFarlane killed the Oscars last night, so funny you guys.

Really? Or have you just heard These Kids Are Really Into Seth McFarlane now and so you're jumping on?

Seth McFarlane is a guy with some real comedy chops... which he used up five years ago and has been coasting on since without any update to his act. Now he's a Cartoon Salesman who does the Stewie Voice.*

There was a time when Sarah Silverman was, in fact, intensely funny. But no schtick can stay funny forever, and at some point, you've made enough Rape jokes.

And Obama.... Well, I don't know if he was every actually anything at all, except a rabble rouser who could turn his "black dialect" on and off, as Harry Reid observed. But I do know the same Follow the Lead Sheep thing has been going on with him for a while.

* The Star Wars parodies were pretty good.

Here's a Big Problem with Seth McFarlane: Ironically, Seth McFarlane now insists upon himself.

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posted by Ace at 04:41 PM

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