Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Valdosta Has Dave on Its List Letterman Tweaks City on His Show

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Valdosta Has Dave on Its List Letterman Tweaks City on His Show

Article excerpt

********** CORRECTION (3/29/97)

Because of an editing error, a story on Page A-1 yesterday

about David Letterman making fun of Valdosta misstated the day

for the Academy Awards. The Oscars were presented Monday night.

**********

David Letterman won't make Valdosta's Top 10 list anytime soon.

Folks in Valdosta yesterday had some choice comebacks for the

acerbic late-night TV host after he peppered this South Georgia

city with zingers about the accents and intellectual abilities

of Valdostans.

Those stung by the loser label the New York comedian hung on

this city of 44,800, which is known for its championship

school-boy football teams, also want Letterman to profess his

regrets in person.

"He follows the line of a long tradition of Yankees who have

assuaged their own feelings of insecurity by feeling superior to

Southerners," Valdosta State University President Hugh C. Bailey

said.

Letterman took aim at the Azalea City during his Tuesday night

monologue after learning about a visit by 20 Valdosta State

University students. Late Show publicist Rosemary Keenan said

yesterday Letterman began cracking jokes after encountering a

"very enthusiastic" Valdosta State student.

But Letterman didn't stop at poking fun at the student. He

also said anyone from Georgia visiting the Ed Sullivan Theater,

where the show is taped, should bring a translator.

Most of Letterman's jokes focused on Valdosta or the Oscars,

which were awarded Tuesday night in Los Angeles. He suggested

Valdosta college seniors couldn't crack a third-grade math

problem and claimed that South Georgians pronounce the word

special as spacial.

"Can you believe that?" asked Valdosta Main Street Director

Mara Peterson, whose first name is pronounced May-ra. "He

obviously doesn't have an appreciation for the gentility of the

South."

Letterman's South Georgia gibes come as Valdosta struggles to

rebound from troubling times.

This week, a Valdosta High School trainer was jailed on

narcotics charges, the second drug-related arrest of a school

employee in as many months. …

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