LADIES & GENTLEMEN, LARRY "BUD" MELMAN
Like many folks my age, I was a huge Letterman fan in the 80's when the show still clung a bit to its "cult" status. And Melman, with with his "Am I on TV?" mannerisms was a big part of the offbeat charm. I think I watched him 20 or 30 times before I was fully convinced he wasn't an actor, pretending to be this Melman character.
But of course, he was playing Melman: his real name was Calvert DeForest (how pathetic is it that I knew that without reading the article?). And that little dose of post-modernism was a key factor in the whole "ironic detachment"/self-consciousness that informed so much of pop culture, art, and entertainment during that period that bridged the late 80s and early-to-mid 90's.
That overused irony is (rightly) decried now, after a decade of increasingly impersonal expression in film, music, and television. But in the mid-80s, as it began to gain traction, it was freakin' liberating. Letterman, back in the day, was the anti-talk show.
And Larry Bud was one of the anti-pieces of that anti-puzzle. Rest in Peace.
Labels: When Letterman Was Good