Diary

The Radar: Mary Manning

Self-portrait by Mary Manning
23 Sep 2022

For this edition of The Radar, our regular column of cultural recommendations from friends and colleagues around the world, we got word from artist Mary Manning, who is still decompressing after their second exhibition at Canada Gallery this spring followed by a residency at Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto, Italy.

Mary corresponded with us from their sick bed, sharing an all-purpose convalescence suggestion and video:

I am writing from my couch with a good old fashioned seasonal cold. Like a 2019 cold. It’s bad. About an hour ago, I resorted to my ongoing self-soothing tactic of watching clips of 1980’s/90’s David Letterman episodes. But today I remembered that Letterman had an incredibly brilliant head writer when he started out, named Merrill Markoe.

Markoe came up with all of the most epic long-running segments that Letterman used throughout the show’s existence—most memorable among them ‘Stupid Pet Tricks.’ (Incidentally, Merrill and Dave were a longtime couple and, as an aside, I recommend watching episodes where she returns to the show as his guest for one of the many comedy books she’s written. The segments are kind of the best-case scenario for hanging with an ex! Comedy! Anyway, before ‘Stupid Pet Tricks,’ Markoe came up with the first ever pet-on prime-time segment: ‘Dog Poetry.’ I just love it so much! Hats off to the concept of watching animals be funny, a brilliant idea that has gotten most all of us through some of the darker moments of the wild and grief-filled time on this planet right now and will now get me through this cold. DOG POETRY!

 

Courtesy ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ 3rd Anniversary Special, air date: 1/26/85

Mary Manning is an artist living and working in New York City.

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