Scoring Letterman's Tiger Woods Monologue

A mere three months ago, people (OK, people whose own lives are so empty that they immerse themselves in the lives of the people they watch on the television, like, erm, us) could chatter about little else but David Letterman's personal indiscretions, a series of intraoffice sexcapades to which he memorably confessed following perhaps the clumsiest extortion-slash-movie-development-deal attempt in the history of aspiring blackmailer-slash-screenwriters. Letterman, as we all no doubt remember, immediately took control of the situation by dedicating a pair of uncomfortable segments to explaining the extortion plot and (after a long weekend of criticism) apologizing to his wife. This is what crisis-management specialists call "staying ahead of the story." The damage to Letterman, it seems, was mostly limited to hand-wringing about how he'd be able to make monologue jokes about other guys with difficulty keeping it in their pants.

Tiger Woods, on the other hand, after that fateful car-crash set in motion the truly bizarre chain-reaction that would expose his ambitious extramarital-sex schedule, retreated to the panic room underneath his estate, swaddled himself in a custom-made Snuggie he had stitched together from surplus Masters jackets, then watched passively as a parade of loose-lipped cocktail waitresses, event planners, reality-show contestants, porn stars, horny librarians, double-jointed perfume-counter clerks and suspiciously homophobic Republican politicians marched by on TMZ, each exposing some tawdry new secret about how Tiger liked to spend his tournament downtime. This is what crisis-management specialists call, "Holy f*ck, I want no part of this! You banged a Perkins waitress in a church parking lot? Really, dude? I'm moving to Africa to dig wells. This is just too much."

So now that the stage has been set for this high-profile philanderer vs. philanderer deathmatch: How would Letterman, allegedly handcuffed by the public knowledge of his own affairs, finally tackle the Tiger story, one which has yielded fertile material just about every hour since that brave fire hydrant gave its life so that the tabloid industry might live? As it turns out, pretty deftly. After the video, our breakdown of how Dave scored in his first real, post-AssistantGate challenge.

"Boy, looks like that Tiger Woods is having some trouble, huh?" And with that ice-breaker, and a pause for the release of pent-up, knowing laughter from an audience acutely aware of the host's assistant-diddling misadventures, Letterman was off and running. Then, just as the second wave of laughs from that fraught beat were subsiding, the kicker: "You know what I was thinking, if this thing had happened three months ago, I'd have material for a year!"

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