Ratings show that Letterman is the most watched talk-show host on late-night television; here Adler ( The Kennedy Wit ) chronicles his rise to the top, from an Indianapolis boyhood to inheriting the mantle, if not the show, of his hero Johnny Carson. Apparently, Letterman's self-deprecating, ironic, sometimes caustic wit was slow to develop: as a youth he played ``pranks''--a less sympathetic observer might call them humorless practical jokes--and had a fondness for the zany, as in his later ``Stupid Pet Tricks.'' He began to work in radio during college, appeared on various stations in the Midwest, went to New York City and then to L.A., where he learned that he had no great future as a stand-up comic. He returned to New York City and his first big show premiered in 1982, scoring high. It was galling to Letterman when Carson retired and he was not offered the Tonight Show . As a result, he broke with NBC and signed with CBS. While shedding little light on its subject, the book will attract readers with its humor. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/02/1994 Release date: 05/01/1994 Genre: Nonfiction
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