David Letterman and Jon Stewart, erstwhile late night hosts, appeared alongside each other at the 75th anniversary celebration of the USO at Andrews Air Force Base Thursday. Both have a long tradition of entertaining troops at various USO shows overseas -- that in itself a continuation of a tradition that began long, long ago with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, and so many others.
Clips of their appearances are now available online, and so you, too, can draw your own inferences. Mine: Neither has lost the slightest step in their timing, and neither has met a razor in recent months either.
Before introducing Vice President Joe Biden, and after calling out to the audience for the respective branch of the military present to make themselves heard, Stewart had a couple of things to say.
Of Biden: “He’s a guy who’s unpredictable, says whatever is on his mind, is impulsive. You might think to yourself, that sounds crazy, or man, that is crazy. And -- whoa -- then, I thought that now, that gets you the Republican nomination.”
He followed with this: “Trump’s gonna keep you busy when he’s your commander in chief...”
Then this: “He’ll paint all the [MILITARY]planes with ‘Trump,’ in big gold letters...”
Stewart then introduced Dave, who said, “sometimes the mind plays tricks on a person, especially when you get to be my age. I was listening to the vice president and president speak and for a split second, my mind said to me, oh that’s nice, they’re running again.”
“Mrs. Obama said something that rang true with me -- it’s hard to get this group of people up on stage at the same time [BUT]in my case, it’s not that hard. I’m pretty much ready to go, and happy to be out of the house...” (The Letterman retirement anniversary is coming up -- May 20.)
Dave then noted that he was approached by a military personnel member before he came up on stage.
He said the person told him, “’We love what you do, we love what you mean to the country, we love your writing, we love your poetry...’”
“And I said, who do you think I am?
“He said, ‘Walt Whitman?’”
A couple minutes later, Stewart bid farewell to Letterman: “Oh captain, my captain.”
And on a related but separate note: On Thursday, HBO chief Richard Plepler said during a Paley Media Council luncheon interview in New York with CNN’s Brian Stelter that he’s “hopeful” Stewart’s short-form videos will begin airing on the network before the November election.