I have been a long time fan of David Letterman. Back in the day when he was doing the late, late show and wearing tennis shoes with his suit. I remember being outraged that NBC picked Leno over Letterman. Letterman represented a younger, more hip audience (or so I liked to think of myself as hip at the time, and yes, I was very wrong about how hip I was. It’s amazing how a hick from Show Low can even begin to think that he is hip in any way, shape or form.)
Now, I missed the early part of the ongoing saga between Letterman and Sarah Palin stemming from a rather crude joke that Letterman told about Palin’s daughter and a baseball player. Needless to say, Palin reacted, Letterman reacted to the reaction (clumsily), more reaction from Palin, Letterman reacts again, etc.
“And then I was watching the Jim Lehrer ‘Newshour’ – this commentator, the columnist Mark Shields, was talking about how I had made this indefensible joke about the 14-year-old girl, and I thought, ‘Oh, boy, now I’m beginning to understand what the problem is here. It’s the perception rather than the intent.’ It doesn’t make any difference what my intent was, it’s the perception. And, as they say about jokes, if you have to explain the joke, it’s not a very good joke. And I’m certainly – ” (audience applause) “- thank you. Well, my responsibility – I take full blame for that. I told a bad joke. I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception. And since it was a joke I told, I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having told that joke. It’s not your fault that it was misunderstood, it’s my fault. That it was misunderstood.” (audience applauds) “Thank you. So I would like to apologize, especially to the two daughters involved, Bristol and Willow, and also to the Governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke. I’m sorry about it and I’ll try to do better in the future. Thank you very much.” (audience applause)