I was about to make a sweeping clichéd statement when Joe, buckled up in the passenger seat and holding tightly to the safety handle, said, “Oh, lord," with a verbal eye roll.
“What?" I asked.
“I just love those grand generalizations," he said.
“Oh. Well, anyway, there are two types of people in the world. Those who get tattoos and those who don’t,” I finished with defiance. The notion of inking skin aside, there are some instances in which broad distinctions can be drawn about people, narrowing it to a single point and determining certain characteristics in a person, depending on which side they emerge.
In preparing my list of topics with which to annoy Joe for this weekend, I came up with something that will make him glaze over and hope I just move on to the next issue.
There are two types of people in the world (someone cue Joe’s eyes, please): Leno watchers and Letterman viewers.
The first camp enjoys watching their news and “comedy” delivered with the all of the challenge of milk from a nipple. There’s a familiarity to Jay’s show, mostly because he’s stolen his ideas from others but also, who can resist that full head of reassuring hair? It’s a comfortable relationship he has with his audience, the size of which seems to coincidently mirror Bush’s approval ratings, and the stars love to come on for their pre-scripted, no-surprises talking points fest while they whore their new project.
Letterman people are a scrappier bunch, though, given to fits of depression and outright self-loathing, much like their late night partner. They like surprises; they like the nasty sneer of Letterman when he tosses a bad joke in the air and lets it hang like a booger, and they like Dave’s general disgust for all things human.
Leno is the kid in the front row of class, waving his hand and bringing an apple; Letterman is in the back shooting spitballs at the chalkboard.
What do I watch? I prefer Nightline as my bedtime habit, not out of snobbery but I like the amazing variety of topics Koppel brings to the forefront, and he does it with effortless humor and grace. Last night, he attended an evangelical screening of The Passion and spoke with some parishioners afterward. While his opinion was never explicit, it was clear he was upset at the imbalance of the portrayals of Jews in the film. His closing thought was measured and brilliantly delivered. The combo of Koppel and Howard Stern give me all of the information I need to know before I go to sleep.
When ABC outbid CBS for Letterman in the high profile pissing match, Letterman refused ABC's offer, saying he would never want to displace the most important show on television - Nightline. Do you think for a minute Leno would have had that thought? Not unless someone else did first.