Letterman explains — and sort of apologizes for — jokes about Sarah Palin daughter

NEW YORK — David Letterman joked Thursday that things are now fine between him and Sarah Palin because the Alaska governor called and offered to take him hunting.

NEW YORK — David Letterman joked Thursday that things are now fine between him and Sarah Palin because the Alaska governor called and offered to take him hunting.

She’d done nothing of the sort, of course, continuing a feud with the CBS late-night host that may wind up being well-timed for Letterman in the second week of his new competition with Conan O’Brien on NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

“I’m Dave Letterman, making friends wherever I go,” Letterman said at the opening of Thursday’s show, a day after he apologized for wisecracks aimed at Palin and one of her teenage daughter — even as he milked the situation for more laughs. His lengthy discourse on Wednesday blended flashes of contrition with more pokes at Palin and her family.

Letterman invited Palin to come on his show, which her spokeswoman declined with a shot of her own.

Letterman had made several jokes on Monday’s monologue about the Palin family’s visit to New York.

His Top Ten list featured “Highlights of Sarah Palin’s Trip,” and included: “Bought makeup at Bloomingdale’s to update her ’slutty flight attendant’ look.”

But the diciest joke centred on the family attending a Yankees baseball game.

Letterman said “an awkward moment” occurred for Palin when, “during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by (Yankee third baseman) Alex Rodriguez.”

Without naming her, the joke seemed to refer to Palin’s 18-year-old daughter Bristol, an unwed mother.

But it was 14-year-old daughter Willow, not Bristol, who had been at the game.

Todd Palin issued a statement that said “any ’jokes’ about raping my 14-year-old are despicable.”

And Sarah Palin charged Letterman with “sexually perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity.”

“I am not a celebrity,” said a deadpan Letterman, interrupting himself as he read the statements aloud on Wednesday’s show. “I’m 62 years old, but I’m not a celebrity.”

He denied the joke was meant to be about Willow Palin.

“I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl,” he said, dropping his signature sarcasm. “I don’t think it’s funny. I would never think it was funny.”

“I’m not necessarily proud of these jokes,” he said in a more ironically self-deprecating moment. “We do stuff all the time and our objective here is to get a laugh, and thank God we don’t have to go to the Hague and the World Court to defend them. It’s a joke and that’s all it’s supposed to be.”

Before he was done, he tried to boil down the situation into two key points, which he stated with playful precision:

“Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes.”

“Did I suggest that it was OK for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No.”

He also invited Palin to be a guest on his show, saying, “I think we could put these differences behind us.” But the offer, extended to both Palin and her husband (“or leave Todd at home,” Letterman suggested), was turned down on Thursday.

“The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show,” said Palin spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton. “Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.”

While the incident keeps Palin in the public eye in a manner likely to draw sympathy from supporters, it puts Letterman in the news in an extremely fortuitous time. It’s the second week of his battle for eyeballs with O’Brien and it couldn’t be closer.

In an overnight measurement of the nation’s biggest media markets, O’Brien beat Letterman by one-tenth of a ratings point on Wednesday, according to Nielsen Media Research. It was the same slim margin on Monday, and with Julia Roberts as a guest on Tuesday, Letterman beat O’Brien — the first night CBS has beaten NBC since last October.

In Nielsen’s metered markets, Letterman hasn’t beaten the “Tonight” show for a week since November 2005.

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Street Tales: Life is filled with unlearned lessons

There are days that I almost believe evolutionists in that we are… Continue reading

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month