Friday, May 5, 2017

Jason Zinoman

Jason Zinoman is the author of Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night. From his Q&A with Isaac Chotiner at Slate:

How do you think Letterman would be handling Trump if he were on air?

That’s a good question, and I actually think that while a lot of Letterman fans like to think that he would have the most trenchant stuff on Trump and go after Trump the way others wouldn’t, I am actually skeptical of that. I don’t think it’s in his comedic DNA to do exactly what Bee and Oliver do so well. I think he was a different kind of performer. Letterman has a long, long history with Donald Trump, which spans from 1985 until the end. In some ways Donald Trump was introduced to the mainstream on television through appearances on Letterman’s show. I am inching towards doing the most Slate thing possible, which is to defend Jimmy Fallon, but you could make an argument that Letterman’s shows normalized Trump as much if not more than Fallon.

But Trump wasn’t a racist lunatic in the 1980s, or people didn’t know he was, right?

Well, I don’t know. The Central Park Five happened a long time ago.

That’s a good point.

Letterman called Trump a racist on-air and then had him back on the show, several times.

When was this?

When the birther thing happened.

Let’s put it this way:...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue