The Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 120,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)
One of the best things about Late Night with David Letterman was that in its prime, you never knew what was going to happen. [...]
On December 19, 1984, after devoting entire episodes to a bar mitzvah and an intermediate school's election night, and before their episodes from an airplane and a hotel room, Late Night with David Letterman presented Christmas with the Lettermans, a one hour send-up of every single cheesy Christmas special that had ever run on television. The special, which ran unsuspectingly on a Wednesday during Letterman's usual 12:35am time slot, won Late Night the Emmy for outstanding writing in a variety or music program for the second year in a row.
The special began with NBC's classic "brought to you in living color" identification that welcomed viewers to countless peacock [...]