“It is better to deserve honours and not have them than to have them and not deserve them”
So spoke Mark Twain, the greatest American Satirist, about 200 years ago.
However, today Twain must be chewing his words and welcoming David Letterman with open admiration, as he bags the most coveted Prize for American Humor.
J. F. Kennedy’s Centre for Performing Arts has announced that the Mark Twain prize for American Humor, would this year be awarded to one of the most talented Talk Show Host David Letterman.
Letterman is famous for his shows Late Night with David Letterman on NBC and Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.
Mark Twain, famous for his quirky Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, has been an inspiration for readers, writers and performers for a long long time. After all, who hasn’t dreamt of being as adventurous and as carefree as his boys. And, who hasn’t admired Twain’s singular ability to point out absurdities in the most comical manner!
American Literature is yet to produce another genius Like Mark. But sure enough, lots of later writers and performers took hint from him and followed his footsteps, in dry humor.
And, the moment, dry acerbic comedy is talked of, one can not help thinking of David Letterman. One of the most popular and of course, most envied Talk Show Host, Comedian, Writer, Interviewer, who enamored everyone with his cockeyed, deadpan observation of American behaviour and his acerbic interviews, where he grilled his celebrity guests, leaving the viewers awestruck.
However, before reaching the pinnacles of success, Letterman was actually a modest Weatherman on TV. Though, there also, his inherent talent used to surface as unpredictable on-air behavior. All of a sudden, he would congratulate a tropical storm for being upgraded to a hurricane and predicting hail stones “the size of canned hams.” He would also occasionally report the weather for fictitious cities, saying there was “Eight inches of snow in Bingree and surrounding areas” leaving the TV producers and viewers baffled yet amused.
Recognizing his talent early on, David made some wise decisions and created history by running Talk Show continuously for 33 years. His first guest was Bill Murray in 1982 and his last episode was aired in 2015. After successfully presenting the comic take at 12:30 midnight for 04 days a week for more than 30 years, he is still enjoying life in his own peculiar ways, with his beard and off and on appearances on award functions, being the talk of town.
Though retired from active public life at the ripe age of 70, he still has a long way to go and is ready to grab Mark Twain in his hands, sometimes in October, this year!
Finally the two satirists will share the same stage!!