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That Time That the Joker Killed David Letterman

This is "My Name It is Nothin'," a look at when comic books guest star celebrities, but their names are changed so as to avoid any legal problems. Today, we look at a deadly encounter between the Joker and David Letterman!

Since it was set in the future, we sometimes forget that The Dark Knight Returns is very much a creature of its time. Frank Miller was greatly influenced in the culture of the then-current time in the mid-1980s and he sought out to parody the modern era in a look at the modern era through the lends of the future.

I certainly don't mean to suggest to you that talk shows had not always dealt with matters of pop psychology, as of course they have. Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show used to be an hour and a half for nearly 20 years before it was cut down to just an hour and that extra half hour would often see Carson interviewing people who wanted to discuss matters of culture.

Carson, for instance, was very interested in discussing stuff like sex in a non-shameful way.

However, in an attempt to counter-program against Letterman in the mid-1960s, ABC tried out a show starring Les Crane that intentionally tried to do hard-hitting discussions with topics Carson would never touch, namely stuff involving gay rights and African-American issues.

The show ended after roughly a year.

However, a few years later, Phil Donahue adopted that basic idea for a daytime syndicated show, this time taking a bit more of a laid back approach to things.

As these shows got more popular, so, too, did there become a bit of a cottage industry out of doctors who would be willing to go on to these shows and make seemingly wild claims about any number of topics. Things blew up in 1986 when Oprah Winfrey's daytime syndication talk show launched. She did the same topics Donahue did, only she did them better...

Soon, there would be roughly 495 daytime talk shows all going over the same basic sorts of topics. Meanwhile, in the early 1980s, a popular guest on ALL sorts of talk shows was Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a German-born sex therapist who got her own sex education radio show in 1980.

She soon became a regular talk show guest, including a number of times on Late Night With David Letterman...

Okay, so when Dark Knight Returns came out, it would be a very common sight to see people on talk shows talking about topics like trying to rehabilitate criminals. Miller, though, took this concept to an absurd degree in Dark Knight Returns, as he has a recurring character in the series be Dr. Wolper, a psychiatrist who blames Batman for causing the existence of super-criminals like Two-Face and the Joker and who believes he has cured the Joker of his psychosis. They both then go on the David Endochrine Show, along with the other guest, Dr. Ruth Weisenhimer...

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