Thursday, September 10, 2009


They say that a large part of comedy is timing, and I witnessed a great example of this last night. David Letterman, in a bit that took up a total of maybe 10 seconds, made me (and my father-in-law, who was watching with me) laugh out loud and showed why he's such a comedic genius. Before heading to a commercial break, Letterman said, "And now, ladies and gentlemen, with today's date ... Hitler". Then he cut to a clip that lasted a maximum of two seconds of a scene from some movie in which the actor playing Hitler, at his full-throttle angry Hitler loudest, screamed "NEIN! NEIN! NEIN!!!" (NO! NO! NO!) while slamming his hand violently on a table. With each "NEIN!", another nine was added to the screen - 9 ... /9 ... /09. And then back to Dave who said "We'll be right back with Jay-Z" or something like that, and on to the commercial break.

This is a joke that can be made ONCE EVERY HUNDRED YEARS. And if you blinked, you missed it. I sat there wondering if Dave and/or his writers thought that up the day before, or if they had been waiting patiently for months or years (like, maybe they thought it up last year on August 8th?) to spring it on us. Either way, it was just awesome. It's the subtle but brilliant stuff like this that makes me love Letterman and Conan.

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