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After a brief glimpse into the post-retirement life of David Letterman, I'm convinced of two things. First, that dude really knows how to grow a beard that will put Santa Claus to shame. Second, Letterman knows comedy. In an interview that ranged everywhere from retirement to politics, Letterman revealed who he thought were the funniest comedians out there, and it just so happens one is a politician. According to Letterman, the funniest comedians out there are Al Franken, Norm Macdonald, and Jim Downey.
The selection of names, judging from the interview, appear to be at least somewhat politically based. Al Franken, of course, represents the Democratic party as a Senator in Minnesota, and Letterman mentioned in his interview to Vulture that the two had spoken about Texas senator Ted Cruz prior to the election. As for Jim Downey, one of his biggest claims to fame as an SNL writer was coming up with the "strategery" bit made iconic by Will Ferrell during the presidency of George W. Bush. Downey would also write for David Letterman for two years in the 80s as well, so they have a personal connection. The only real exception to this is Norm Macdonald, who is self-described "apolitical," so how does he fit into all this?
While politics may not play into David Letterman's love of Norm MacDonald, mutual respect does. It's no secret that Letterman has had a love for the comedian, and often had him on the show because he could legitimately make him laugh, which I'm sure Norm appreciated. In fact, Norm has credited Letterman to his love of stand-up. In his final appearance on Letterman, MacDonald recalled a joke he first heard Letterman tell when he was 13 and how it inspired his current career path. Check out the clip and a choked up Norm around 6:40 in the video below:
These three also share another connection, which could be random, but a connection nonetheless. All three of the men mentioned have, at one point, worked on Saturday Night Live. Al Franken was on the show for 15 years spaced between two stints in the 70s to the late 80s and mid 90s. Norm Macdonald was on the show for five years and shared one of his years alongside Al Franken's second run on the sketch series. Jim Downey wrote for the series when both Franken and Macdonald were a part of it and beyond. It would appear that David Letterman may love humor that gears itself to SNL, or at least loves the comedians and writers on it. I wonder what he thinks of the current series?
It's clear David Letterman a unique guy. I think you could ask 1,000 people their top three favorite comedians and no one would replicate this list. That's what made Letterman a household name for 33 years of television, and possibly how his beard is so damn terrific. David Letterman is out of the TV business, but that doesn't mean you have to stop watching! Jump on over to our midseason premiere guide and find something to fill the void his presence left behind.