I resigned myself to never having a clue about Dave’s reaction. Was I interested? Behind the scenes, a stunning, Emmy Award-winning blonde actress once complained to a Late Night producer, “Why won’t Dave f--k me?”. Nick listened, then paused. “This is the remarkable story of a rich white male celebrity who abused his power and then apologized for it,” Scovell wrote. It all seemed friendly until just before he exited, when he made an offbeat prediction. “I hear you’re moving on,” Dave said. I said “yes” so fast I sprained my tongue. The Tomorrow Lady/Father, Dear Father/Still Life, Take a Letter, Vicki/The Floating Bridge Game/The Joy of Celibacy, Lost and Found/The Understudy/Married Singles, Doctor Duck's Super Secret All-Purpose Sauce, Lenoir Cruisers - Cher Shaffer - Baroque Arts, Mama Mae: The Life and Music of Mae Boren Axton, Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, Madlyn Rhue, Jim Stafford, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jan Murray, Nipsey Russell, Pat Carroll, Jack Cassidy, Telly Savalas, Bernadette Peters, Jim Stafford, Leonard Barr, 8th Annual Country Music Association Awards. “What’s the difference between Johnny Carson and David Letterman?” Merrill once joked. My soul did a spit-take. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. You got the job. I didn’t expect to ever cross paths with Dave again. Vanity Fair may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The Jim Stafford Show was a six-week summer variety series shown on ABC from July 30, 1975 (1975-07-30) to September 3, 1975 (1975-09-03). “When I read that document you wrote 10 years ago, I just thought, ‘There’s nothing to be upset about here. Dave reigned supreme, enjoying the rights and privileges of the monarch. Matt’s “joke” made me queasy. In the Late Show offices, at the Ed Sullivan Theater, Dave and the writers were no longer on the same floor. I considered the downsides. Sitemap Post was not sent - check your email addresses! With apologies, I passed a second time. It happened, that’s all true,’ ” Letterman said, according to Scovell. Nell Scovell was born on November 8, 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA as Helen Vivian Scovell. Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Your California Privacy Rights Scovell — one of the few female writers who worked on “Late Night With David Letterman” — spilled the beans about its toxic environment behind the scenes in a Vanity Fair essay that went viral in 2009. We talked about favorite teams while Dave tossed the football into the air. Sexual harassment allegation. Adapted from Just the Funny Parts: . Stafford has his own theater in Branson, Missouri, since 1990, and still performs... 'Buffalo' Bill Joe Hickens / Buffalo Bill, Bobbie Gentry’s Albums Compiled for New Box Set, Veteran TV Writer Nell Scovell on Her New Book and Hollywood’s Progress — and Lack Thereof. I’d seen photos of Dave’s office in magazines, so the first thing I did when I arrived to meet him was look up at the dangling pencils that he famously tossed into the acoustic tile ceiling. The Jim Stafford Show was a six-week summer variety series shown on ABC from July 30, 1975 () to September 3, 1975 (). He was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. It took a while, but speaking out about how women and people of color got boxed out of late-night writers’ rooms went from being one of the scariest things I’d ever done to one of the best. Some of the writers wanted the head writer to pitch it to Dave immediately so we could run with the premise that night. Stafford was credited with being the supervising writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour revival show, which aired on CBS in 1988. “Seems like you just got here, so I was wondering why.”. His songs include: "Spiders & Snakes", "Swamp Witch", "Under The Scotsman's Kilt", "My Girl Bill", and "Turn Loose of My Leg". Dave with the writer Nell Scovell in 2019. But that’s in part because the shows relied on current (white male) writers to recommend their funny (white male) friends. All rights reserved. Dave using his family as an excuse for neglecting his professional duties is a luxury no high-level female could ever afford. . Maybe this is why the male writer went out of his way to remind me of my gender that first day. I’d answer it. Stafford continued to have moderate chart success through most of 1975. It made no sense to me. if I don’t discuss Dave sleeping with interns?”. Merrill and Dave were also a couple, but after seven years and four Emmys, she walked away from both the job and the relationship. “You know what I’m gonna do?” he bellowed. She is a writer and producer, known for NCIS (2003), Warehouse 13 (2009) and The Muppets. Since retiring, Dave has grown a long white beard and looks like his home address is a deserted island. If he had been simply trying to shock, he could’ve said, “Before this is over, I will hear you fart.” It’s the same joke construction (i.e., in the future, some bodily function will embarrass you), but gender-nonspecific. In the late 1970s, Stafford was married briefly to singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry, and they have a son, Tyler Gentry Stafford. Dave sat behind his desk, wearing sweats and clutching a football. By 2009, we’d elected an African American to occupy the Oval Office, but not one person of color had ever broken into Letterman’s writers’ room. It was practically built into the job description, which boiled down to, “Make Dave happy.” When you’re working that hard to please one person, it starts to feel like infatuation, and the women—and men—who worked on the show routinely fell in love with the boss. Years later, Dave would greet a new writer by saying, “This is a terrible job, but it will look good on your résumé.”, Less than half a year after I got my dream job, I quit. My hypersensitivity probably stemmed from a #MeToo experience on another show, which left me with a deep distaste for colleagues who blurred the line between personal and professional—and they were blurring that line like crazy at Late Night. I searched IMDb for the last female writer at Late Show. Both those phone calls had the same odds of happening. He preferred to wait and call Dave in his car. In 1976, Stafford guest-starred in two episodes of Gemini Man, which were later combined into a TV movie titled Riding with Death. For me, there was a lingering question: had Dave read the article? After “Late Night,” Scovell moved on to shows such as “Murphy Brown” and “Coach,” and she created “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” In her 2009 piece, she described the dearth of women in the office — and the since-confirmed rumors that Letterman was having affairs with female staffers. I turned down The Today Show, and then hours later, my phone rang. A former intern told me that Dave once dispatched him to hand back pitches for the top 10 list to the writers with the message, “Like this. While there’d been hundreds of dads writing comedy for late night over the years, I believe Laurie Kilmartin became the first mom to join their ranks when Conan hired her in 2010. Scovell made the accusation in her memoir and a 2019 Vanity Fair article. “We can talk about anything you want,” Matt said. He’s still married to his wife, Regina Lasko. I brace myself for Dave to start yelling (because even in my own fantasy, people are mad at me), but instead, he thanks me. Come on.”. He received a gold record for his work on the Disney movie, The Fox and the Hound. From the awards race to the box office, with everything in between: get the entertainment industry's must-read newsletter. Stafford was asked to speak to the allegation in March 2018, but did not respond. Dave was catnip to non-famous, brainy women, too. Plus, I’d heard rumors that other high-level producers enjoyed their own female “intern sleepover parties.” Still, what chafed the most was Burnett calling the work environment “fair” and “entirely merit-based.” “Fair” implied women had the same opportunities as men, and “entirely merit-based” meant that in the past four years, not a single female writer who had applied to the show was funnier than the least funny male on staff. Stafford continued to have moderate chart success through most of 1975. After two years of false starts, I started to feel like I belonged in Hollywood. She stayed for just five months in 1990. Privacy Notice “Hold for Dave,” says one of Dave’s 83 assistants. Nearly a decade before the #TimesUp movement, David Letterman admitted on air, “I have had sex with women who work for me on this show.” Hollywood shrugged, but Nell Scovell took action. Watch Now. In high school, he played in a band called the Legends, along with friends Bobby Braddock, Kent LaVoie (also known as Lobo) and Gram Parsons (of the Byrds, and The Flying Burrito Brothers). He sounded angry. We have a long-overdue conversation about including women and people of color in the writers’ room. I’m not that guy now. I had no idea until about 20 years later, when I was helping Sheryl Sandberg write Lean In and she taught me about “stereotype threat.” It turns out that when members of a group are made aware of a negative stereotype, they are more likely to conform to that stereotype. Sexual favoritism occurs when employees get special benefits by giving special benefits. External Sites, Bobbie Gentry’s Albums Compiled for New Box Set, Veteran TV Writer Nell Scovell on Her New Book and Hollywood’s Progress — and Lack Thereof. His most recent comedy album was Don't Tell Mama I'm a Guitar Picker, She Thinks I'm Just in Jail. By Nell Scovell, Dey Street Books, ... Jim Stafford, at a Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour work party. On Prime Video. He moved down the row, stopping in front of each staffer and encouraging them, “Harder. Rob Burnett, one of Late Show’s many executive producers and the head of Dave’s production company, Worldwide Pants, Inc., decided to push back against the criticism from NOW. “Me.”. Instead, it put her on a path that led to collaborating with Sheryl Sandberg on Lean In and to her own memoir, Just the Funny Parts, to be published on March 20 by Dey Street. There’d been no female writer hired since. Stafford also currently tours during the winters. Dave agrees with everything I say, and we’re joking and having a great time until I have to run because my dead mother is calling on the other line. She is a writer and producer, known for, Rose McGowan Accuses Alyssa Milano of 'Toxic' Behavior on Charmed Set, Stuntwomen Documentary Trailer Follows the Women Behind the Action of the Modern Day Blockbuster, Chrissy Teigen Apologizes to Megan Thee Stallion Over "S--tty" Twitter Joke, Favorite TV Series' Soundtrack You Never Want to Skip, The End of the World as We Know It: Part 2, The End of the World as We Know It: Part 1, So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show, John Dickerson/Charlamagne Tha God/Nell Scovell.

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