December 16, 1961 – February 26, 1994
While it goes without saying that you are an icon and a legend in late night talk, I have to say that I have no sympathy for you in your recent situation with Sarah Palin.
I personally have no problem with what you said, and think Mrs. Palin is just trying to get leverage and PR out of the situation.
However, this debacle has no doubt brought you back to the night of October 1st, 1993.
On that evening, the late William Melvin (Bill) Hicks was scheduled to perform on your program. This was to be Bill's 12th performance on your legendary show. Several years earlier, Jay Leno had brought Bill to the attention of your producers, being as Bill was a bit too edgy for the Tonight Show's more mainstream audience.
Bill performed his pre-approved routine and all was well. Then, before it aired, Bill received a phone call that the bit had been cut from the show. It ultimately became apparent that sponsor backlash to Bill's mild, but biting, commentary on Christianity and abortion had prompted the heads of the Late Night to pull Bill's entire set.
Your failure to stand up against the Almighty Sponsor and their censorship 15 1/2 years ago has come back to bite you in the ass. You, David Letterman, a late night talk show host with 27 glorious years of broadcasting and comedy under your belt, have been reduced to a shadow of your previous stature. You grovelled and you apologized for a joke, something a comedian should never, under any circumstance, ever have to do. You apologized for being who you are.
Your shameful treatment of our generation's greatest (in this author's humble opinion) and most under-rated, under-appreciated, yet smartest and brightest comedic minds was the black mark on your record that could never be undone. Your current situation simply proves that what goes around, truly does come around.