Laugh-In comedy writer George Schlatter asks “Should Letterman be fired for a joke?”
When the joke attributes what used to be called “loose” sexual habits to an underage girl, yes.
If there are no more questions, class is dismissed.
Footnote It’s possible that Letterman thought his target was Alex Rodriguez. If so, perhaps a few years off the air would allow him to improve his aim.
And of course the outrage from the right is mostly synthetic — How many of them complained about Limbaugh referring to Chelsea Clinton as “the White House dog”? — but that doesn’t make Letterman’s words any less hurtful to a girl who has quite enough trouble in her life.
And no, it’s not “humorless” to regard cruelty in the guise of humor as disgusting. I enjoyed Laugh-In, but the “queen” jokes about a couple of Ronald Reagan’s aides (when he was Governor of California) who had been outed as gay don’t seem quite so funny in retrospect.