Founder / Editor


Associate Editor


Assistant Editor











TV Holidays Are Festive Again: Letterman Is Back with His Annual Christmas Show
December 22, 2008  | By David Bianculli

Last year, the writers' strike put a Scrooge-like end to David Letterman's annual late-night Christmas show. Tuesday night at 11:35 ET, on a fresh edition of Late Show with David Letterman, it's back. Darlene Love will sing, Jay Thomas will tell his Lone Ranger story, and Jay and Dave will toss footballs at the giant meatball atop the tree.

And I'll be watching, and grinning...


This is one TV tradition we shouldn't take for granted. I made the case a year ago, a month into the writers' strike, with a column that recounted the entire glorious history of the Letterman Christmas show. I begged for the Powers That Be to grant special dispensation to allow Letterman's streak to continue. You can read the story, and find out all about the Lone Ranger and Jay Thomas, by clicking HERE.

The Powers That Were, of course, ignored me. The strike continued, and despite the adage that the show must go on, it didn't. But for 2008, the gang is back: Darlene Love singing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," as she did for Letterman 22 years ago, and every year but one since. Thomas back to spin a yarn and toss a football. And, as this year's special guest, another veteran performer: Mickey Rourke, hot on the comeback trail thanks to The Wrestler.

Who knows? He may even stick around to take aim at the giant meatball. This show, every season, has become more obviously, and more delightfully, a celebration not only of Christmas, but of tradition, and friendship, and life itself.

As The Lone Ranger might say: Believe ME, citizen.




Robert said:

I'll be watching and grinning along with you, David (and I always look forward to Paul's annual imitation of Cher singing "O Holy Night" from a 1970's Sonny & Cher Christmas special, which actually is available on DVD now).

Comment posted on December 23, 2008 4:54 PM

Kathy Z. said:

Great and comprehensive interview! It is a complete experience when I listen to you critique television as you not only provide examples but your reasoning behind your choices. Even such a relatively short segment provides thoughtful perspective and helps the "novice" look at television more objectively. Thanks!

Comment posted on December 24, 2008 1:01 PM

sanford sklansky said:

I was happy to see the annual David Letterman Christmas show back on last night. Even though I am jewish, this is one of my favorite Letterman shows. Darlene Love is great and I never tire of hearing the Lone Ranger story and watching Jay and Dave attempting to knock the meatball off the tree. And of course Jay did it again this year.

Comment posted on December 25, 2008 4:52 PM

Tina said:

Way late to comment, but thanks for the tribute -- it's one of my favorite traditions too and it was great to see it return this year. I had no idea it had been 22 years. BUT a big correction: The name of the best Christmas song ever is "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" not "Please Don't Go." (Whoops -- you're absolutely right. I'll go in and correct. My brain misfired with some old Van Morrison blues cover. -- David B.)

Comment posted on December 28, 2008 1:47 PM
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 Name (required)
 Email (required) (will not be published)
Type in the verification word shown on the image.