Aired: NBC, 1982-1993
The sort of irony that David Letterman popularized on his show involved, for starters, calling attention to the fact that he was doing a talk show. If Carson at 11:30 was so polished you couldn't see the gears moving, Letterman an hour later wanted to start by calling attention to the gears, then work his way toward integrating them into the world of his show. All of this conceptual nonchalance required writing to make it look unscripted. Letterman played with the cameras, turned assorted oddball guests into minor celebrities, called his mother at home and spoke to his producer in the control room (repeatedly mispronouncing his name). Two of the most popular segments that Letterman and his writers came up with had "Stupid" in the title. Letterman and his collaborator Merrill Markoe had been here before, but in morning TV, having created the short-lived David Letterman Show.