Late night’s Letterman flexes superiority over O’Brien

Editor’s Note: An on-going argument has been waging between a friend and myself for some time. In this posting, we finally hash out the discussion. His contribution and opinion follows directly after mine. Enjoy.

For years the debate has raged over what late-night talk show is better, and the victor is quite clear.

David Letterman beats Conan O’Brien like the redheaded stepchild the Irish lad truly is.

At the most obvious level of superiority, look at the time slots each laugh guru holds.

Conan fills the slot following the lack-luster Jay Leno, while Letterman dominates CBS’s lineup and leads the hysterical Craig Ferguson to comedic gold every night of the week.

Besides, what is Conan really known for?

Oh, that’s right. Red hair.

That has to be one of the lamest identities I have ever heard of. He has red hair. How unique.

At least Letterman, who is known for a gap in his teeth, can hide his silly trademark physical feature and not allow it to constantly intrude upon his comedy routine.

Speaking of which, Letterman’s delivery of laughs is by far better than that of Conan.

From the opening monologue filled with laughs and the buttoning and unbuttoning of his suit coat, to the end being tied up nicely with either a musical performer, comedian or extra interviewing of the night’s guest, Letterman does so with clear prestige.

He receives laughs without the aid of an applause sign like the poor Conan surely must use.

With Letterman, you won’t find idiotic gestures or over-exaggerated body language to extract meager laughs from a less-than-capacity audience.

Letterman doesn’t have to rely upon physical humor to get an uproarious round of applause. His comedy is good enough to pack the house night after night without flailing his arms or staging countless skits.

After all, how high of a caliber comedian is Conan when one of his running skits is called “Masturbating Bear”?

Letterman, on the other hand, has timeless skits such as the “Late Show Top 10,” “Stupid Human Tricks,” “Will It Float?” and “Know Your Cuts of Meat,” among others.

Of course, one cannot forget to look at the bands backing each comedian.

Hands down, Letterman’s partners, Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra, whip Max Weinberg and his seven musicians.

They are hacks compared to the bald and beautiful Shaffer.

So the next time you are vexing about what late-night hilarity to enjoy, remember the slogan of Letterman and allow it’s intelligence to gently guide you to the right decision.

“There is no off position on the genius switch.”


Conan O’Brien rises superior to Letterman

By Garrett Scott 

In the nighttime comedy wars, there have arisen a few options from which the public can choose.

In order to quell the ignorance, I have decided to promote a late night comedian whose comedy is only surpassed by his identification with the common man.

Of course, I am talking about the one and only Conan O’Brien.

Instead of depending on whistling tooth gaps and massive budgets to make comedy — like his CBS counterpart David Letterman — Conan abounds in the realm of honest and ingenious comedy on a smaller budget that comes with the second late-night comedy time slot. 

Though you may ask how Conan can be better when so under-funded and “pushed aside” to second slot, I dare say that the more important question is how can Letterman do so little with so much, while Conan does so much with so little?

In style points, there is no contest. Conan’s iconic red-hair swirl has gained the affections of many his watchers.

His obvious Irish connection gives him the ability to connect with people, while his towering stature gives him the uniqueness needed to succeed on the TV side.

That style also permeates into his presentation.

While Letterman licks his lips and chuckles at his own mismanaged jokes as “applause” signs, no doubt, flicker ferociously, Conan meticulously covers the topics of the day with tasteful sarcasm and humor that is actually funny.

This is where Conan originality truly shines.

Show favorites such as the “string dance” and phrases like “keep cool my babies” pepper the beginning of the show pleasantly laying the welcome mat to the audience and invoking the laughter.

That kind of content doesn’t just happen over night. It is born of the willingness of brave comedians to try something new.

Utterly brilliant “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog,” a ruckus causing, cigar-smoking canine who shines his best at dog shows and Star Wars conventions, bits are classically funny skits, and Conan’s “Small Talk Moments” utilizes silence and grave stares in ways not seen since silent films.

This as Letterman’s lacking “will it float” sinks, leaving everything to be desired.

When it comes to bands, Conan’s “Max Weinberg Seven” provides not only good music, but Max and Conan’s comedic dialogue banters are gold standard.

Paul Shaffer and his band, while good, provide poor backup up to Letterman.

The choice is clear — when it comes to late-night, Conan rules. There are few greater and perhaps fewer taller, but none funnier.

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About toddvogts 773 Articles
My name is Todd Vogts. I am an assistant professor of media. I like the color green, riding my motorcycle, and being with my family and friends. A good book is a perfect companion for me any time, and I'm a published author and journalist. Visit my website at and follow me on Twitter at

1 Comment

  1. Stop bashing Conan. He has his fan base and we get his comedy. You on the other hand don’t get it and never will. Yes, Letterman is good but Conan’s jokes and personality make him seem more intimate with the audience. Letterman could care less about you but Conan seems to get what everyday folks want to be apart of. I feel like he is in my living room while Dave feels to me like he’s not even on my block.

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