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Wednesday 26 September 2012

Letterman – Careful Dave

[Update at end of post]

The lure of the late night show has clearly got to Young Dave, who is managing to squeeze in an appearance on Late Night With David Letterman during his visit to the USA. No doubt Cameron thinks this is a jolly whizzo idea, but he ought to take care: Letterman might have been doing his show for thirty years, but he’s still sharp and still well capable of sending down a curve ball.

Cameron could – and maybe should, although they’re probably not on the best of terms right now – have asked occasional London Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson about the advisability of doing the Letterman show. Bozza managed to get the most blatant of propaganda past his host, including the assertion that the cycle hire scheme was “totally communist”, but there was a sting in the tail.

Just as Bozza thought he’d come through unscathed, Letterman unleashed the killer line “How long have you been cutting your own hair?” to which even Boris couldn’t manage so much as a “yikes” or “cripes chaps”. “That was a low blow” he protested to a background of loud laughter. But his host got him again during a discussion on Bozza’s ambition. “You think it’s the hair that’s holding you back?”.

Boris was quite jolly throughout, though, and one does wonder if Cameron can maintain the same kind of levity. And it doesn’t matter which of the late night hosts you face, as Tone found when he got a spot to plug his book on the Daily Show, where Jon Stewart gave him the most effective critique of the whole Iraq War business he’d ever faced.

But Blair was, by the time he did the Daily Show, well out of Downing Street, and so was Pa Broon, who also appeared with Stewart. Cameron, who has a tendency to appear peevish and humourless when things aren’t going his way, is halfway through a term of coalition Government that is under press scrutiny as never before. His is a high risk strategy – perhaps needlessly so.

And just in case Cameron thinks he can get away with not turning up, he should see what happened to previous Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain, who cancelled on Letterman, only to turn up on CBS News with Katie Couric when his reason for calling off the appearance was that he had to race to the airport to get back to Washington DC.

Not only did Letterman give McCain some stick for the cancellation – including showing him in the CBS News studio and definitely not en route to the airport – but he also got Keith Olbermann to fill in as guest. That, in case you missed it, meant that a liberal leaning host got ten minutes’ worth of time to find adversely upon the GOP’s latest Presidential hope.

So Dave has to go ahead and see Dave. And that might be interesting.

[UPDATE 27 September 1010 hours: Cameron did get the odd cheer from Letterman's audience, particularly when he told them that political parties were not allowed to advertise on TV in the UK (not surprising, given the saturation coverage suffered by many US citizens with the Presidential election now approaching), but he also got tripped up once or twice.
He wasn't able to give the English translation of the Latin Magna Carta - although he did correctly assert that it had been signed at Runnymeade - and wrongly guessed that Edward Elgar had written Rule Britannia, whereas it had been composed by Thomas Arne (Elgar wrote the music we know as Land Of Hope And Glory).

But what benefit he gained from the appearance is hard to fathom. He and Letterman didn't exactly hit it off]

1 comment:

Gus Friar said...

Magna Carta not signed anywhere. Medieval monarchs did not, on the whole, sign documents. B minus.