Sam Anderson does a very good job of explaining why Jay Leno wins the ratings war. It always has bothered me, more than such things should, that more people watch Leno than Letterman. But I can't argue with anything in this article. Especially,
Letterman seems to loathe his monologue. He performs it grumpily, as a duty, and most of the humor comes out of his apparent disdain for the jokes, half of which seem to send him into acute liver failureâ€”he squints, grimaces, chokes back vomit, very nearly dies. This irony insulates him from the material: He didnâ€™t write the jokes, he wants us to understand, and heâ€™s not really behind them, heâ€™s just the one stuck up there reading them. Heâ€™s a failed idealist; it can be painful, night after night, to watch him betray his own high standards.