So David Letterman is instigator, victim, and satirist---all rolled into one, and all about the same thing. Himself.
Letterman, who went public last week with a bizarre scheme that made him victim of a blackmail attempt due to some sexual hanky-panky he committed years ago with a CBS staffer, last night went public again---this time with an apology to his wife, Regina Lasko.
As usual with Dave, it wasn't totally maudlin; it was laced with self-deprecating humor and observational comedy---which has been conveniently presented to him by virtue of his actions. This is material he doesn't even have to write.
"I mean, I'll be honest with you folks," the 62-year-old TV host told his "Late Show" audience. "Right now, I would give anything to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail. I got in the car this morning---and the navigation lady wasn't speaking to me."
Letterman added it was fall in the city and that he spent the weekend "raking my hate mail."
"And it's cold, too," he said. "I mean chilly outside my house, chilly inside my house."
But there were also some serious, sincere words.
"Either you're going to make some progress and get it fixed, or you're going to fall short and perhaps not get it fixed, so let me tell you folks, I got my work cut out for me," Letterman said.
At issue, of course, is news that Letterman had sex with more than one CBS employee who worked for him, several years ago. One of the women appeared in some "Late Show" sketches, along with being the girl who presented dinner certificates and other prizes to audience members during Dave's foray into the crowd during occasional bits like "Stump the Band."
But it wasn't just the news of Letterman's escapades that made this a big story. It's the prosecution of a man who tried to blackmail Letterman by threatening to reveal the dalliances.
That's what prompted Letterman to go public on "The Late Show" last week with an admission that was so riddled with jokes that the audience didn't appear to know whether it was all true or just part of a comic bit.
It's infinitely easier for someone like the wise-cracking, sarcastic, smart-ass Letterman to deal with something of this untoward nature than the pathetically stiff politicians and religious dudes who are blindsided by being outed.
Get caught sleeping with an employee? Crack some jokes and keep it light; it's in character, after all.
Can you imagine if Joe Senator tried that tack on the steps of the Capitol? He'd be accused of being a cad and not taking the issue seriously.
But Letterman, thanks to his occupation and pulpit, can pull it off almost seamlessly.
A new slogan: Pulling off the unseemly, seamlessly.
Maybe Dave can hire me as a writer. As long as he keeps his hands to himself.