Diversion

Greatest jokes that never made it on Letterman

obama-on-letterman-2015.jpgThese are pretty great. Former David Letterman writer Nell Scovell honors the ex-boss by compiling the favorite unaired jokes of other writers on the shows. Both "Late Night" and "Late Show" are included, with writers going back to 1980. Letterman offers his own greatest unaired joke, and he also agreed to explain or at least annotate some of the others' selections. There are a few he regrets not allowing to air.

The compilation runs in New York Magazine with a longer version on the web.

This is Scovell's own pick, with Letterman's comment:

As a fan, I loved the remotes, so when I arrived at the show, I really wanted to come up with one. I cranked out ideas: Dave racks up enough frequent-flyer miles that he gets to pilot a plane … Dave’s cousin from the Ozarks, Jed Letterman, is sent to live with him and they tour the city … None were approved, and eventually another writer clued me in that Dave wasn’t too keen on venturing outside the studio.


So I tried to think of something Dave could do at his desk and came up with WDOG — a radio station for dogs stuck at home. All Dave had to do was speak into a mic, repeating, “Good dog … good dog … good dog.” Then we’d cut to show the dogs, listening to the radio, rapt, for hours. There were news updates and a “K-9 Komedy Korner” where Dave played the sound of a key in a door and the dogs reacted by barking and jumping. It seemed like it might fly, but I never heard back. It’s been 25 years. I guess I should take that as a “no.”

Letterman: The part of this that I would do in a second is talking to dogs. I would explain that my own dogs are at home. There is no dog sitter. The television is on and I’m talking to the dogs … and then we line up the sound effects: the key in the door, the electric can opener opening the dog food, and other dog-related behavior-producing sounds we could come up with. Yeah, I’ll be happy to do that. We’re not doing “Jed” from the Ozarks. I’m sorry. We’re just not doing that.

Here's Dave with President Obama on the other night, talking about retirement.



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