Outside Reading — My Empty Dish Mocks Me edition


The Most Important Comedy Writer of the Last 50 Years Finally Gets Her Due by Elyssa Goodman

I am among the quickest to co-sign any declaration celebration the broad cultural impact of David Letterman. But I’m also keenly aware that his distinct comic sensibility — arguably the defining comic sensibility of an entirely generation — was significantly shaped by Merrill Markoe, the first head writer of Late Night with David Letterman. I assume that’s a well-known fact, at least in comedy nerd circles, but Elyssa Goodman makes a persuasive case that even those in the know undervalue Markoe’s contributions. Tonight, Markoe receives the Writers Guild of America West’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement, and the immense honor is thoroughly deserved and indeed overdue.



Pompeo Called Me a ‘Liar.’ That’s Not What Bothers Me. by Mary Louise Kelly

It’s an exhausting process, this constant cataloging of the current executive branch’s procession of grotesque, previously unthinkable attacks on basic national norms (abetted by the obsequious and cowardly legislators who long ago chose party over country). Is it even possible to identify a new low when these monsters dwell so deep in the chasm? Mike Pompeo’s ham-fisted attempt to bully NPR Mary Louise Kelly after she dared to ask him a question about a matter highly pertinent to his current role as a public servant would be a small embarrassment if it didn’t represent the toxic imperiousness that is endemic to the current leadership. And that quality is a major factor in the pure corruption that we now know for certain will go officially unchecked. In a response published by The New York Times, Kelly address the incident with class and clarity, characteristics that are entirely absent from the White House officials she’s charged with covering.

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