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Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night Audiobook, by Jason Zinoman Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jason Zinoman Narrator: Michael Goldstrom Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2017 ISBN: 9780062660916
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New York Times comedy critic Jason Zinoman delivers the definitive story of the life and artistic legacy of David Letterman, the greatest television talk show host of all time and the signature comedic voice of a generation.

In a career spanning more than thirty years, David Letterman redefined the modern talk show with an ironic comic style that transcended traditional television. While he remains one of the most famous stars in America, he is a remote, even reclusive, figure whose career is widely misunderstood. In Letterman, Jason Zinoman, the first comedy critic in the history of the New York Times, mixes groundbreaking reporting with unprecedented access and probing critical analysis to explain the unique entertainer’s titanic legacy. Moving from his early days in Indiana to his retirement, Zinoman goes behind the scenes of Letterman’s television career to illuminate the origins of his revolutionary comedy, its overlooked influences, and how his work intersects with and reveals his famously eccentric personality.

Zinoman argues that Letterman had three great artistic periods, each distinct and part of his evolution. As he examines key broadcasting moments—"Stupid Pet Tricks" and other captivating segments that defined Late Night with David Letterman—he illuminates Letterman’s relationship to his writers, and in particular, the show’s co-creator, Merrill Markoe, with whom Letterman shared a long professional and personal connection.

To understand popular culture today, it’s necessary to understand David Letterman. With this revealing biography, Zinoman offers a perceptive analysis of the man and the artist whose ironic voice and caustic meta-humor was critical to an entire generation of comedians and viewers—and whose singular style ushered in new tropes that have become clichés in comedy today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An acute portrait of stardom, an insightful chronicle of three rambunctious decades of pop-culture evolution, and a very brainy fan’s notes.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Zinoman’s ambitious work succeeds in capturing Letterman’s cultural impact while unearthing the human being behind the frequently inscrutable television icon.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Top-notch research bolstered by one-on-one interviews make this a must-read for Letterman fans.”

    Library Journal

  • “Well researched, incorporating a nice mixture of interviews…the Letterman biography fans have been waiting for.”

    Booklist

  • “This incisive, illuminating book shows the personal toll that success took on all responsible, the price paid for laughs.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “I devoured this book. Not only a rare and richly detailed account of the life of one of my comedy heroes, but I loved that you can feel Zinoman’s curiosity about, and admiration for, Dave’s singular sensibility on every page.”

    Billy Eichner, star, executive producer, and creator of Funny Or Die’s Billy on the Street

  • “Michael Goldstrom’s narration of Letterman is straightforward and well paced—engaging listeners but keeping the focus on the subject matter. Goldstrom deftly guides us through this detailed account…Letterman’s ironic detachment is frequently cited as the keystone of his comedy, and Goldstrom channels this with hints of sarcasm throughout. When quoting various ‘Late Night’ and ‘Late Show’ bits from the past three decades, Goldstrom adds enough flourish that listeners can visualize Letterman himself delivering the material. By the end of this audiobook, listeners will also be intimately familiar with the evolution of late-night comedy since the 1960s.”

    AudioFile

  • Washington Post Top 10 Book of Books That We Loved

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About the Author

Jason Zinoman writes the “On Comedy” column for the New York Times. He has also contributed to Vanity Fair, the Guardian, and Slate and is the author of Shock Value and Searching for Dave Chappelle.

About the Narrator

Michael Goldstrom is a Juilliard-trained actor and comedian. He has appeared on Comedy Central, HBO, A&E, NBC, and ABC, as well as on and off Broadway. His audiobook narrations have earned several Earphones Awards.