Waymon Hudson

No Wonder Letterman is Beating Conan in the Ratings

Filed By Waymon Hudson | August 19, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: Conan O'Brien, Late Night, Letterman

Self-promoting king, Donald Trump, appeared on Letterman last night to talk about the Miss Universe contest. david-letterman.jpgNot surprisingly, Carrie Prejean came up, with Trump touting her "great beauty" as reason for caring about her opinions...

Gotta love some late night misogyny from the Donald. Sigh.

Letterman took the opportunity to take a stand for marriage equality:

Anybody who wants to get married ought to be able to get married.

Quite a different tone than that of new Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, which has come under fire quite a few times lately for anti-LGBT humor.

Videos after the jump

Here's the Trump/Letterman Interview:

2.jpgOver on Conan, he's been on what seems to be a string of jokes that has GLAAD up in arms.

Alex wrote about Conan's take on transgender women- where he puts them in dresses in mustaches with giant "trannie" signs.

He also recently had Demetri Martin and Shaquille O'Neal on his show where they discussed Martin's new film Taking Woodstock, based on the memoir by Elliot Tiber, the gay man who helped put on Woodstock.

The show devolved into a "ew, I had to kiss a guy. That's gross!" macho laughfest, with Martin talking about how uncomfortable he was with the part and O'Neil moving away from him when he said he had to kiss a guy.

Here's the video:

Where can I get my "Team Letterman" shirt...

(h/t Towleroad for videos)


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I just watched the Conan clip you provided, and I feel like you mischaracterized what was going on there. But even if the context was what you suggested, the behavior about which you are complaining isn't Conan's, it's the guests's. Why should he take the blame for them?

You also overlooked Conan volunteering about his kissing men (even though it's unlikely that he has), and Martin making fun of himself, 'gee, eight takes later... '

Trump is a sexist buffoon who has publicly excoriated Rosie O'Donnell. I would hardly give Letterman "cool credits" for even havng him as a guest.

I agree- Trump is a sexist tool (which I stated in my post), but by your own reasoning, Letterman shouldn't be judged by having him on but for his reaction, which was pro-equality.

And I actually took something different away from the Conan exchange (I found his reaction to be condoning the laughter and "ew, yuck" reactions, but it is highly possible that was colored by his recent trans-trashing, which I found over the line.

"... but by your own reasoning, Letterman shouldn't be judged by having him on but for his reaction, which was pro-equality."

I have to disagree. Letterman is responsible for booking his guest who was there not for any talent, but was there to promote a beauty contest. His whole schtick is buffonery. Conan's guests weren't booked with the expectation that they would be offensive. In fact, Martin was there promoting his new film in which he portrays a gay man.

I only addressed this Conan issue because I didn't see the "trannie" sketch, and I'm not sure what to think of it.

But what's up with Britney appearing on Letterman in a bikini for no reason?

I have to agree with the Britney comment. Very random- but then again, but that seems to be very Brit nowadays. LOL

Oh, c'mon guys! Millions of straight men (Letterman being one of them) tune in just to see Britney in her bikini, and you call it "random"? Well ... duh!

(Maybe a good number of women tuned in for it, too ... but the show was shooting for getting the men to tune in. It's called "ratings", people.)

LOL- I realize that, AJ. I just think it's funny and in total character with current, slightly crazy Britney. :)

The joke I like is Shaq's. First he moved away ... then he moved up the couch close to the rather diminutive Martin and started flirting with him by fingering his shoulder ... the audience got the joke immediately, as if they were watching a Great Dane trying to mate with a Chihuahua. And Shaq didn't have to say a word.

(This is an old joke for Shaq --- he uses it whenever he gets the occasion, once on Kevin Eubanks while Jay Leno was still hosting the show.)

But I'm not sure we can accuse Shaq of homophobia for making a joke like that. After all, "size problems" (for lack of a better term) exist in both the gay and straight world --- and I bet Shaq's legendary mantool has made a few women have second thoughts, too.

I remember seeing a Conan O'Brien bit a few (maybe 10?) years back where he was visiting a Scandinavian country and he sees a nameplate for someone with the surname "Fagerstrom," and he yells out, in a contemptuous manner, "Hey FAGerstrom!!" It was unbelievably offensive. I mean, unbelievably. I've despised, and avoided, him ever since.

You have given a word so much power that it drove you to such lengths?

Jokes dont have to be politically sensitive and they never will be. Its one of the reasons The Onion is so popular.

Its this kind of over sensitivity that makes people wary of these kinds of discussions.

The trannies joke was funny, albeit stupid, but funny. I happened to be watching it with my transsexual friend and he thought it was entertaining. He even went as far as commenting on how some transsexuals do a horrible job as passing off as their desired gender.

Its humor, its supposed to push buttons, make people uncomfortable and get people talking. Sometimes its OK to laugh at ourselves.

It makes you stronger in the long run.

orry, Justice. It's not always funny if you're a woman, trans or not. I would suggest that your transman friend's remark was somewhat flippant about many transwomen failing to pass. It ignores the fact that testosterone 'poisoning' prevents many of us from 'passing' no matter what we due. I'd like to think he knew better. Unfortunately, scapegoating femininity is fairly common in this culture among men.

Bashing can take a toll on one's ability to laugh. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. I just couldn't find it this time around. Maybe next time I'll be stronger. And you'll be wiser.

Letterman is no hero when it comes to the LGBT community.

Perhaps the most offensive example is his calling Thomas Beatie an "androgynous freak show". He also gave James Franco a very hard time for kissing Sean Penn in Milk and had a skit on last December with Jim Carrey and Larry King in a hot tub with Carrey making frat boy homophobic jokes, after the skit Letterman said "They're so gay!".

He's no hero.