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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at

Top 10 Reasons To Watch 'David Letterman: Mark Twain Prize'

Scott Suchman
Biff Henderson joins David Letterman on the PBS special Monday, Nov. 20.

Top 10 Reasons To Watch "David Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize" 8 p.m. Monday Nov. 20 on PBS (Channels 48, 16):

10. His impeccable comic timing. As they say on the PBS show Monday: What better time than right now to look like a Confederate war general?

9. Stupid Pet Tricks. The Monkey Cam. Larry "Bud" Melman. Biff Henderson.

8. Letterman started his career as a weatherman for Indianapolis' old WLWI-TV, sister station to Cincinnati’s WLWT-TV. In Indianapolis, he studied the irreverent comic sensibility of WLWT-TV's Paul Dixon and once told TV viewers they were about to be hit by "hailstones the size of canned hams."

Credit CBS Television
A clean-shaven David Letterman in 1999.

7. After moving from Indiana to Los Angeles in 1975, he wrote jokes for comedian Jimmie Walker's stand-up act. Dyn-o-mite!

6. He loved to throw watermelons and light bulbs from rooftops, and we loved to watch.

5. Was a sidekick on Mary Tyler Moore's short-lived 1979 CBS variety show with Michael Keaton, allowing him to do a morning show on NBC in 1980.

4. His NBC morning show bombed, but two years later in 1982 his quirky schtick worked in late-night – and for the next 33 years, making him the longest-running late-night television show host in U.S. history.

3. Watching him try to deliver a fruit basket to General Electric corporate headquarters after GE bought NBC, which broadcast his "Late Night" show.

2. Dave's Mom Dorothy's hilariously genuine reports from the Winter Olympics.

1. Top 10 Lists. We miss them. 'Nuff said.

"David Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize" (8 p.m. Monday, Channels 48, 16 PBS) is one of many specials this week in my Thanksgiving week program guide,"Frosty, Charlie Brown, The Grinch Arrive Thanksgiving Week."My huge Christmas Holiday Program Guide will be posted Sunday, Nov. 26.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.