Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's About Power, Stupid

Many years ago, I had the chance to audition for Late Night while I was gigging in Boston. As I stood at the Comedy Connection bar before the show, I was approached by Robert "Mortie" Morton who, at the time, was Dave's producer.

In what turned out to be two of the most awkward minutes of my life, I watched in horror while Mortie put, as my grandmother might have said, "the moves on me." After his initial proposition, I said, "That's very flattering, but I'm married."

He looked me up and down, glared at me disgustedly and asked, "Are you a comic?" I shook my head, yes. He said, "No, you're not."

As he walked away, I knew I had no chance of getting the show. Of course, I probably wasn't ready for my network television debut but, even if I had been, I was screwed.

And I'm sure there were women who worked in the World Wide Pants office who felt the same way.

There's a reason why the boss shouldn't sleep with his employees. Sex with underlings creates an atmosphere of fear. Should I sleep my way to a promotion? (Or an on-camera role.) If I don't sleep with him will I be fired? If I get a raise will people think it's because I had sex with him?

Folks have been defending Letterman because what he did wasn't illegal. Yes, but it was unethical. CEO's have been fired for similar offenses.

I don't think this story is over. As more salacious details emerge, it'll be interesting to see how the viewers-- and his wife-- react. I suspect Letterman will keep his job, but that's about it. Gone will be his wife, his son, half his fortune and the unlimited sex he had been enjoying for years.

We'll see what happens. But, to paraphrase Letterman, "Please, no wagering."

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