Back in the early 2000's, I stopped watching Letterman with the same regularity as I had in the past. Within a few years, I pretty much ignored him altogether, tuning in only when one of my comedy buddies appeared on the show.
At the time, I still thought Letterman was funny but I began to doubt his comedic judgment when his personal assistant Stephanie Birkitt became a fixture on the show.
The frequency of her painfully unfunny bits led me to exclaim on more than one occasion, "Letterman must be banging her. Nothing else makes sense."
Well, it turns out I was right. Letterman was banging her.
It's been reported that Birkitt is the ex-girlfriend of Robert J. "Joe" Halderman, the man who tried to squeeze 2 million bucks out of the late night talk show host.
I've been in show business for over 20 years, so I am not naive when it comes to power and sex. Countless women (present company excluded), gay men and even the occasional heterosexual male have managed to sleep their way to the middle. (I chose instead to sleep my way to a 20-year marriage.)
But as a comic and comedy writer, I'm sick when I see a fellow female securing a coveted spot on a prestigious comedy show merely because she was more than willing to diddle the man in charge. I'm not offended as a woman. I'm offended as a comedian.
I can't imagine what it must have been like for the writers to see their own work rejected to make room for the excruciating bits generated by Letterman's other woman. And I also can't imagine what it must have been like for the female staffers who legitimately secured jobs through hard work and talent yet were assumed to have been hired because they don't mind blowing the bossman.
Letterman didn't just fail as a family man, he failed as a comedy mogul. He didn't just let down his girlfriend of 23 years, he let down the fans of his show.
Subjecting viewers to bad comedy as payback for sexual favors may be his biggest crime as far as the public is concerned.
Letterman's penis belonged in his pants, not in the writer's room