PopWatch is a witness to history in the 'Late Show' audience

Mccain_lPopWatchers, you wouldn’t have believed my excitement. I was jumping and hopping and skipping all over the place — I had just witnessed a moment in history, or something, and I was jazzed. By the time I got around to blogging about it, a mere few hours after it had happened, the edits had already been made on Wikipedia. So you know what’s up, and you knew all along that this would happen anyway: John McCain announced (though not "formally" — he’s doing that on The Tonight Show) on The Late Show With David Letterman that he is running for President of the United States in the 2008 elections.

I was there, way in the last row of the balcony, and I applauded mightily. It’s not that I align with Senator McCain’s politics, or find him a particularly appealing candidate. It just felt like a big deal to be part of this audience, listening to what he had to say ("You drag [the announcement process] out as long as you can"). It actually felt like a big deal to be there at all, seeing as how, unlike former fanatic Whitney Pastorek, I was a Late Show audience virgin until last night.

Joining a lot of out-of-towners and a handful of New Yorkers, my cube neighbor Sophia Asare and I stood in line and endured ARE YOU READY TO GET EXCITED ABOUT THE SHOW cheer time so that we could get our official tickets. Inside the great Ed Sullivan Theater, the audience trainer taught us silly monkeys how to laugh and clap and cheer appropriately. We got a few minutes of alone time with the CBS Orchestra, and then some fleeting, precious moments with Dave. By the start of the show, we were panting for more. The hour-long taping zoomed by, and I clapped the whole time.

I watched the show later that night on TV, and the feeling wasdifferent. My view was a lot better this time. I actually saw faces,close up, and it occurred to me that the show is more familiar thanfunny,  run by a bunch of geriatrics, guests being no exception(Senator McCain, if he wins the election, will be the oldest-electedpresident in history). I remembered the way the set got broken apart tomake room for the musical act’s equipment, or how the furniture lookeda little shabbier in the theater than it did on TV, the laughter not souniformly hearty. Whereas my participation as an audience memberallowed me to feel like I was a part of the production, the experiencealtered the way I viewed the show.

Do I regret having lost my V-card to the Late Show? No. Itwas great fun, and I recommend it to anyone living in or visiting thecity. Just prepare yourself for a meeting akin to seeing the Wizard, alittle loss of innocence, if you will.

Comments (28 total) Add your comment
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  • Ed

    I’m going to be completely superficial on this subject but as a card carrying republican, McCain looks like death. He was such a handsome man a couple of years ago, what happend?
    Hillary for 08!

  • Fatima

    I usually watch the local NBC news so I always end up watching Leno despite liking Letterman better. But Tim Allen came on and I couldn’t stand it so I flipped over and happened to see this. I just thought it was odd that within 5 minutes of changing the channel, I saw something pretty important. I’m watching Dave tonight!

  • toonces

    Dave is by far, the best and classiest late show dude since Carson. Why Leno is on the air befuddles me day in and day out. PS- I agree that McCain looks awful, and quickly. And WHERE has Whitney P. been? I miss her reviews and blogs….

  • mike

    MCCain has been moving strongly to the right for months now to position himself for trhe republican nomination. He used to be a maverick independant. Now he is just another one of them.

  • Matthew

    What Mike said. McCain sucks.

  • mark in nyc

    Paul Schaffer earned his paycheck last night when McCain said the formal announcment will come in April….and Paul responded with “the formal announcement will be on Leno”.
    even Dave thought it was funny.

  • Sarah

    Okay, is announcing on Letterman really the best way to present yourself so that people take you seriously? I think that was a terrible idea. I mean, it’s one step away from Arnold Schwarzenegger, and that’s not good.

  • Ep Sato

    Anyone catch the 30Rock ep. where Ms. Maroney says “I am going to vote for Osama and support the President in his war to take out Barak Obama”. That had me in stitches!
    McCain doesn’t physically look good anymore, but what bugs me is that he isn’t “Mr. Straighttalk” like he was in 2000. Even as a Dem I thought he was the right man for the job then, but now I’m thinking the GOP would be better served by Sam Brownback or Rudy Guiliani.

  • Louise

    Ed, McCain has had skin cancer. You wouldn’t looks so great either.

  • J

    Do you think Dave knew McCain was going to announce on the show before he actually did? I watched and he didn’t seem all that surprised. There must have been some sort of agreement between them.

  • Barry

    I remember Steve Allen, Jack Paar, the great Johnny Carson, and David Letterman (20 years or more ago, when he was funny)!
    I recently read that Johnny’s sidekick Ed McMahon preferred Craig Ferguson, so I TiVoed the Late Late Show and am in complete agreement.
    On the political issue – I used to like McCain, but lately have been taking a long hard look at Rudy Giuliani as the best Republican contender. On the Dem side I’m not sure I trust Obama, and we need protection from Hillary!

  • Markus

    I had the same experience with the Price Is Right, which I think everybody has watched since kindergarten or before. I thought the stage would be the size of a football field (they make it look really big on TV, no?), but it was scarcely bigger than my college dorm room. The production values were sorta shoddy and I can’t watch the show now without thinking about it, but Bob B. was cool and someday I will go again…

  • Jeremy

    “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
    Because her father is Janet Reno.”
    -McCain at a Republican Senate Fundraiser back in the nineties. Think he wrote any of Letterman’s material?

  • brandonk

    Isn’t it kind of weird that McCain would announce on Letterman and then officially on The Tonight Show? What’s that about?

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