Recently, I've grown to admire David Spade just as most have started to watch him with stifled yawns, or, alternatively, not watch him at all. What I find attractive in him is what others are tired of. Spade is a suave "little guy," oozing self-deprecation with sensual irony and candor. His look has long remained unchanged: long, blonde locks, unevenly sparse mustache and beard, and an irresistibly dozy, smug gaze. Arguably, his sense of humor has not much evolved, either, since his run on Saturday Night Live and in films like Tommy Boy, where his chief duty was as an imperious sounding board for Chris Farley.
After a run of mediocre roles extending into this decade, Spade's humor has now been appropriated the only way a 40-something comedian's can be: he has a late-night talk show. It's safe to assume The Showbiz Show, now in its second season after a debut last fall, is on Comedy Central because that channel, home to delicate spin-offs like The Colbert Report, is the only network gutsy enough to risk half an hour of David Spade complaining about — no, not politics, but pop culture, a growing television market previously cornered by such lackluster up-and-comers as Joel McHale of E!'s The Soup, and a random handful of what I like to call part-time jokester Viacom employees, who grace us with their presence on VH1's Best Week Ever.
Spade, who is also in the upcoming Adam Sandler-produced Benchwarmers with John Heder and Rob Schneider, has a following for his talk show, a fan base that must include the aging SNL watchers as well as younger folk. Spade, in taking on The Showbiz Show project, has welcomed a tired tradition with open arms, and he took a big risk in doing so. He seems to have realized that the show's saving grace would be himself, supported by a group of writers tailoring the show's material to his downright sexy sardonicism. The result: a refreshingly subversive half-hour of television complete with Hollywood guests, low-blow winners, and flops that Spade himself would cringe at, if he weren't so stolid.