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Formerly known as "The Top Ten List", the Late Show Top Ten is a nightly fixture on Late Show with David Letterman. After a fancy computer generated graphical introduction that announces the list is about to be read, David Letterman tells us the topic for the evening (sample topic: "Top Ten Signs That Bill Clinton Has Gone Nuts") and then proceeds to read ten items that are the punchlines to the topic. Typically the list is read just after midnight and it supposedly comes from the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska.

The Late Show Top Ten originally began in 1982 on Late Night with David Letterman as "The Top Ten List". On the show's fourth night on the air the list premiered, and what was planned to be an occassional comedy bit instead became wildly popular enough to be featured every night. In fact, the segment became so popular that NBC and Worldwide Pants (Dave's production company) published two books full of the best lists from the show. Sometimes celebrity guests appear on the show for the sole purpose of reading the night's list, sometimes even via satellite.

When David Letterman moved from NBC to CBS in 1993 he announced intentions to take The Top Ten List with him to the new show. NBC countered by claiming the list, as well as some of Dave's other signature comedy bits, were the intellectual property of NBC and that any attempt to use those bits on the new show would be grounds for a lawsuit. Worldwide Pants responded by changing the name of the segment to "Late Show Top Ten" and adding the fancy conputer graphics introduction. NBC backed down from their threat, and the list continued to be a nightly fixture of Dave's show. CBS and Worldwide Pants even followed in NBC's footsteps and published two books of the lists. The CBS website even contains an archive of every Late Show Top Ten since 1993. The segment is bound to continue for many years to come.

Top Ten Signs You're Not Going to Win a Grammy Award

10. Your band consists of you, your Uncle Bob, and his touch-tone phone
9. Your hit single was titled "The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Sucks"
8. Academy has never honored a musician who plays a comb with a piece of Kleenex over it
7. When the usher looks at your ticket, he says, "Oh, yes, the loser section"
6. Critics say your music just hasn't been the same since Vanilli left the band
5. You're always being asked to do benefit concerts for the tone-deaf
4. All of your gangsta rap songs contain the phrase "tea cozy"
3. No award for "Best Rendition of `Sexual Healing' by a drunken guy at his sister's wedding"
2. You play the pan flute, and four of the judges are sleeping with that son-of-a-bitch Zamfir
1. You're "the Artist Formerly Known as Tony Orlando"


References:
http://www.cbs.com/lateshow/topten/

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