American Splendor, Again

Yesterday we watched American Splendor once again (previous reportage here). It’s really become one of my favorite movies — quaint, funny, slightly surreal and featuring an excellent Paul Giamatti as Harvey Pekar who, as it turns out, has a blog (last updated October 28 ’03!). In the film there’s some footage of Pekar on the David Letterman show, where he appeared several times, and was generally treated as an amusing freakazoid weirdo. Might YouTube have a clip? Sure enough, and in it Letterman’s being an ass:

Bonus clip from the movie: Toby explains the importance of the 80s comedy “Revenge Of The Nerds” to Harvey.

5 Responses to “American Splendor, Again”

  1. SOFA - Philostopher/Chef says:

    Dave’s the ass?
    I watched this when it aired (many years ago when I used to stay up and watch Dave) and the ass was Harvey, not Dave…
    And Dave could (and still can) be a real ass. But not this time, IMO.

  2. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    Should be noted though that this clip shows Pekar on Letterman for the first (and last) time after he’d come on the show previously, telling Letterman that the show, and by extension the network, was “owned by General Electric” (GE) — and that happened shortly after Pekar had heard he had cancer…
    In any case, there’s Dave calling Pekar’s work “Mickey Mouse comic books”… I thought that was pretty uncalled for, although I agree Pekar had it coming. Oh well, doesn’t matter really, does it…

  3. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    One more thing: it looks to me as if the sole reason Pekar was thrown off the Letterman show (as a regular guest) was because he got fed up with playing “the court’s fool” — which is why Letterman put him on in the first place (“we got a vacant spot here — hey, let’s put that comic writing idiot out of Cleveland on again!”). It’s that kind of snide abuse of genuine people — use ‘em while they’re good for the ratings, then dump ‘em — that I take offense to…

  4. SOFA - Philostopher/Chef says:

    I cannot comment on Pekar’s comic work; I’ve never seen it. And yes, Dave (or the powers at NBC) did put some – uh – rather unique guests on the show, for several reasons (ratings, I’d wager, would be at the top); Chrispen Glover comes to mind. Bizarre; hysterical; scary; often times those spots backfired (Chrispen came within a foot of kicking Dave in the face, demonstrating his karate skills).
    I can say that Pekar was not a one time guest, but had been on several times in a year’s span. It was a toss-up who was more obnoxious – Peckar, or Howard Stern… Yeah, genuine is cool – but obnoxious is still obnoxious.
    Harvey was trying to goad Dave, IMO (it would help if the YouTube clip showed the entire interview, and not just the second half)…
    I understand where you’re coming from, Bro; you’re a fan of Peckar’s work. Oddly enough, I’m a fan of Letterman’s work…

  5. SOFA - Philostopher/Chef says:

    (The misspelling of Peckar was not intentional; a little Freudian maybe, but intentional, no.)