David Letterman

3.4459234608963 (1803)
Posted by sonny 03/05/2009 @ 00:11

Tags : david letterman, talk show host, tv, entertainment

News headlines
Doctors Gave Williams Weeks To Live - San Francisco Chronicle
The 57-year-old comedian returned to TV on Wednesday night's episode of the "Late Show with David Letterman," eight weeks after he underwent surgery at a Cleveland clinic to replace an aortic valve. The funny man thanked the doctors who saved his life...
Alec Baldwin Is Shipping Out To Vietnam - OK! Magazine
When he appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman, the oldest Baldwin brother said that the gig is "one of the greatest thing to ever happen to me." The site reports that the Long Island-born star joked with Dave that the orchestra knew where to...
Bob Lutz To Pimp Volt On David Letterman - Jalopnik
An aviation enthusiast who sorta still works in the car industry is going to appear on David Letterman's Late Show next Wednesday to defend the love child he had with former boss Rick Wagoner. Bob Lutz, who just dumped all his GM stock, is apparently...
MASTODON Performs On 'The Late Show With David Letterman'; Video ... - Blabbermouth.net
Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON were the featured musical guests last night (Friday, May 15) on CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman". Watch footage of their appearance below. MASTODON has just released two versions of the band's new album,...
Animal Collective makes Letterman trippy - Decider Los Angeles
by Andy Battaglia May 16, 2009 Animal Collective played the Late Show With David Letterman last Thursday, and—increasingly—it's hard to imagine how it must've come off to people without the least bit of awareness of the band and/or "weird" music in...
AHH Stray News: Rick Ross On David Letterman - AllHipHop
By Ace Cannon Chart topping rapper Rick Ross will make a high profile appearance on Late Show With David Letterman tonight (May 15). Ross will take to the stage where he will perform his latest single “Yacht Club,” taken from his album Deeper Than Rap....
Rahal Letterman returns to Indy 500 with Servia - Motorsport.com
When the IRL announced the switch to a Brazilian-based ethanol company, it left the Bobby Rahal and David Letterman team sponsorless for the 2009 season. The team has one Indianapolis 500 victory with Buddy Rice in 2004. They are more well-known not...
Lambert, Allen 'Idol' finalists - GoErie.com
Robin Williams, who had heart surgery eight weeks ago at the Cleveland Clinic, says he and David Letterman "are now brotherhood of the zipper chests." Williams, appearing on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," was referring to Letterman's quintuple...
David Letterman, electric car evangelist? - Christian Science Monitor
But his biggest competitor took a turn in the driver's seat last week when he hosted Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk on CBS's “Late Night With David Letterman.” The Silicon Valley CEO came on to tout his company's upcoming Model S. The four-door...

David Letterman

David Letterman Communication and Media Building

David Michael Letterman (born April 12, 1947) is an American late-night talk show host and comedian and the host of Late Show with David Letterman on CBS since 1993. Letterman's ironic, often absurd comedy is heavily influenced by former Tonight Show hosts Steve Allen, Johnny Carson and Jack Paar. Letterman has been a fixture of United States late night television since his 1982 debut on Late Night with David Letterman; only Johnny Carson, one of Letterman's idols, has had a longer late-night hosting career.

Letterman is also a television and film producer; his company Worldwide Pants produces his late-night show and the show that follows his on CBS, The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Worldwide Pants has also produced several prime-time comedies, the most successful of which was Everybody Loves Raymond, currently in syndication.

Letterman began his career as a radio talk show host on WXLW (AM), and on Indianapolis television station WLWI (now called WTHR) as a local anchor and weatherman. He received some recognition for his unpredictable on-air behavior, which included jokingly calling attention to state borders missing from the weather map, and predicting sizable hail stones "the size of canned hams." (Because this upset his bosses, to this day he occasionally still does also give out canned hams on his show.) One night he reportedly upset his bosses when he congratulated a tropical storm for being upgraded to a hurricane. He also hosted a talk show which aired early on Saturday mornings called, "Clover Power," in which he interviewed 4-H members about their projects. He would also occasionally report the day's very high and low temps for fictitious cities.

In 1975, encouraged by his then-wife Michelle and several of his fraternity brothers, Letterman moved to Los Angeles, California, with hope of becoming a comedy writer. He started off by writing material for the TV sitcom, Good Times. He also began performing stand-up comedy at The Comedy Store, a famed Los Angeles comedy club and proving ground for young comics.

Letterman appeared in the summer of 1977 on the short-lived Starland Vocal Band Show. He has since joked about how fortunate he was that nobody would ever see his performance on the program (because of its low ratings).

Letterman had a stint as a cast member on Mary Tyler Moore's variety show, Mary, a guest appearance on Mork & Mindy (as a parody of est leader Werner Erhard), and appearances on game shows such as The $20,000 Pyramid, The Gong Show, Password and The Liar's Club. He also hosted a 1977 pilot for a game show entitled The Riddlers that was never picked up. His dry, sarcastic humor caught the attention of scouts for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and Letterman was soon a regular guest on the show. Letterman became a favorite of Carson's and was a regular guest host for the show beginning in 1978. Letterman personally credits Carson as the person who influenced his career the most.

In late June 1980, Letterman was given his own morning comedy show on NBC, The David Letterman Show. It was originally 90 minutes long, but was shortened to 60 minutes in August. The show was a critical success, winning two Emmy Awards, but was a ratings disappointment and was canceled in October 1980.

NBC kept Letterman under contract to try him in a different time slot, after which Late Night with David Letterman debuted in 1982. Letterman's show, which ran weeknights at 12:30 a.m. Eastern Time, immediately following The Tonight Show, quickly established a reputation as being edgy and unpredictable, and soon developed a cult following (particularly among college students). Letterman's reputation as an acerbic interviewer was borne out of moments such as his verbal sparring matches with Cher and Shirley MacLaine. The show also featured inventive comedy segments and running characters, in a style heavily influenced by the 1950s and '60s programs of Steve Allen. Although Ernie Kovacs is often cited as an influence on the show, Letterman has denied this.

The show often included quirky, genre-mocking regular features, including "Stupid Pet Tricks," dropping various objects off the roof of a five story building, demonstrations of unorthodox clothing (such as a Velcro suit and a suit of suet), a recurring Top 10 list, the Monkey-Cam (and the Audience Cam), and a facetious letter-answering segment. The Top 10 list, Stupid Human Tricks, Small Town News, and Stupid Pet Tricks (the last one originating in the morning show) eventually moved with Letterman to CBS.

Letterman remained with NBC for eleven years. Letterman had become very successful, and enjoyed high ratings in the 12:30 A.M. time slot. By the time Johnny Carson retired in 1992, Letterman expected to be considered for the host of The Tonight Show. He did not know that months earlier NBC had signed Jay Leno (then the regular "Tonight" substitute host) to a contract guaranteeing him as the next permanent host.

Feeling scorned by NBC, in 1993 Letterman departed the network to host his own show opposite Tonight on CBS at 11:30 p.m., Late Show with David Letterman. Three years later, HBO produced a made-for-television movie called The Late Shift, based on a book by New York Times reporter Bill Carter, chronicling the battle between Letterman and Jay Leno for the coveted Tonight Show hosting spot. Letterman would mock the film for months afterward, specifically on how the actor playing him, John Michael Higgins, did not resemble him in the least. ("They took a guy who looked nothing like me and with make-up and special camera angles, turned him into a guy who looked nothing like me, with red hair.") Carson later made a few cameo appearances as a guest on Dave's show. Carson's final television appearance came on a Late Show episode taped in Los Angeles, when he made a surprise appearance during a 'Top 10 list' segment. The audience went wild as Letterman stood up and proudly invited Carson to sit at his desk. The overwhelming applause was so protracted that Carson was unable to say anything, and he finally returned backstage as the applause continued (it was later explained that Carson had laryngitis).

The Late Show competes in the same time slot as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. For its first 18 months, The Late Show consistently gained higher ratings than Tonight. But in 1995, ratings dipped and Leno's show has consistently beat Letterman's in the ratings ever since. At one point Leno's lead was as large as two million viewers, but narrowed, as of February 2005, to fewer than a million viewers (5.8 versus 4.9 million).

Letterman's shows have garnered both critical and industry praise, receiving 67 Emmy Award nominations, winning twelve times in his first 20 years in late night television. Letterman has consistently ranked higher than Leno in the annual Harris Poll of Nation's Favorite TV Personality. For example, in 2004 Letterman ranked second in that poll, behind only Oprah Winfrey, while Leno was ranked number 5. In 2008, however, the same poll ranked Leno as America's favorite TV personality for the first time, moving up from number 3 in 2007. Oprah Winfrey came in at number 4 in 2008 and Letterman was ranked fifth.

On January 14, 2000, a routine check-up revealed that an artery in Letterman's heart was severely constricted. He was rushed to emergency surgery for a quintuple bypass.

During the initial weeks of his recovery, friends of Letterman introduced reruns of the Late Show, including Drew Barrymore, Ray Romano, Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Megan Mullally, Bill Murray, Regis Philbin, Charles Grodin, Nathan Lane, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Jerry Seinfeld, Martin Short, Steven Segal, Hillary Clinton, Danny DeVito, Steve Martin, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Subsequently, while still recovering from surgery, Letterman revived the late night tradition that had virtually disappeared on network television during the 1990s of 'guest hosts' by allowing Bill Cosby, Kathie Lee Gifford (recommended by Regis, who was asked first but had no time in his schedule), Dana Carvey, Janeane Garofalo, and others to host new episodes of The Late Show. Cosby, the show's first guest host, refused to sit at Letterman's desk out of respect, using the couch instead; Garofalo followed suit, utilizing a set of grade-school desks instead.

Additionally, Letterman invited the band Foo Fighters to play "Everlong," introducing them as "my favorite band, playing my favorite song." During a later Foo Fighters appearance, Letterman said that the Foo Fighters had been in the middle of a South American tour which they canceled to come play on his comeback episode.

Letterman again handed over the reins of the show to several guest hosts (including Bill Cosby, Brad Garrett, Elvis Costello, John McEnroe, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Bonnie Hunt, Luke Wilson and bandleader Paul Shaffer) in February 2003, when he was diagnosed with a severe case of shingles. Later that year, Letterman made regular use of guest hosts, including Tom Arnold and Kelsey Grammer, for new shows broadcast on Fridays. In March 2007, Adam Sandler, who had been scheduled to be the lead guest, served as a guest host while Letterman was ill with a stomach virus.

In March 2002, as Letterman's contract with CBS neared expiration, ABC expressed the intention to offer Letterman the time slot for long-running news program Nightline with Ted Koppel, citing more desirable viewer demographics. This caused a minor flap that ended when Letterman re-signed with CBS. Letterman addressed his decision to re-sign on the air, stating that he was content at CBS and that he had great respect for Koppel.

On December 4, 2006, CBS revealed that David Letterman signed a new contract to host The Late Show with David Letterman through the fall of 2010.

According to Forbes magazine, Letterman earns $40 million a year. Only sixteen entertainers earn more. Leno, with higher ratings, is #23 with $32 million, but Letterman owns a piece of his show. Letterman's "WorldWide Pants" also produced hits such as Everybody Loves Raymond.

The Late Show went off air for 8 weeks during the months of November and December due to the Writers Guild of America strike. David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants was the first company to make an individual agreement with the WGA, thus allowing his show to come back on air on January 2, 2008. On his first episode since being off air, he surprised the viewing audience with his newly grown beard. His beard was shaved off during the show on January 7, 2008.

In early 1995, it was announced Letterman would host that year's 67th Academy Awards ceremony on March 27. Critics blasted Letterman for what they deemed a poor hosting of the Oscars, noting that his irreverent style undermined the importance and glamor of the event. In a joke about their unusual names, he started off by introducing Uma Thurman to Oprah Winfrey, and then the both of them to Keanu Reeves: "Uma...Oprah! Oprah...Uma! Oprah, Uma...Keanu!" This and many of his other jokes fell flat. Although Letterman attracted the highest ratings to the annual telecast since 1983, many felt that the bad publicity garnered by Letterman's hosting caused a decline in the Late Show's ratings.

Letterman recycled the apparent debacle into a long-running gag. On his first show after the Oscars, he joked, "Looking back, I had no idea that thing was being televised." For years afterward, Letterman recounted his horrible hosting at the Oscars, although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences still holds Letterman in high regard and has repeatedly asked Letterman to host the Oscars again.

In early 2005, it was revealed that retired Tonight Show host Johnny Carson still kept up with current events and late-night TV right up to his death that year, and that he occasionally sent jokes to Letterman, who used these jokes in his monologue; according to CBS senior vice president Peter Lassally (a onetime producer for both men), Carson got "a big kick out of it." Letterman would do a characteristic Johnny Carson golf swing after delivering one of Carson's jokes. In a tribute to Carson, all of the opening monologue jokes during the first show following Carson's death were written by Carson.

On September 10, 2007, Letterman made his first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show at Madison Square Garden in New York. He shared pictures of his son and live-in girlfriend. The so-called "feud" between Letterman and Winfrey ended in 2005 when Winfrey appeared on CBS' Late Show with David Letterman on December 2. Oprah had previously appeared on Letterman's show when he was hosting NBC's Late Night on May 2, 1989.

Winfrey and Letterman also appeared together in a Late Show promo that aired during CBS' coverage of Super Bowl XLI in February 2007, with the two sitting next to each other on the couch watching the game. Since the game was played between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears, the Indianapolis-born Letterman wears a Peyton Manning jersey, while Winfrey, who tapes her show in Chicago, is in a Brian Urlacher jersey.

After Letterman left Late Night on NBC, his hosting duties were passed to Conan O'Brien. During O'Brien's rocky first year as host of Late Night, Letterman was very supportive, making an amicable appearance as one of O'Brien's first guests and later filling O'Brien's audience with the stand-by audience from his own show. Letterman also invited O'Brien as a guest on the Late Show. In 1996, when O'Brien celebrated his third year on the air, Letterman showed up again in a bit involving a "stray" hairpiece that once belonged to him. Years later, when NBC announced that O'Brien would take over The Tonight Show, Letterman congratulated O'Brien.

Letterman started his own production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated, which produces his show and several others, including Everybody Loves Raymond, The Late Late Show, and several critically acclaimed, but short-lived television series for Bonnie Hunt. Worldwide Pants also produced the dramedy program Ed, starring Tom Cavanagh, which aired on NBC from 2000–2004. It was Letterman's first association with NBC since he left the network in 1993. During Ed's run, Cavanagh appeared as a guest on The Late Show several times.

In 2005, Worldwide Pants produced its first feature film, Strangers with Candy, which was a prequel to the Comedy Central TV series, Strangers with Candy. In 2007, Worldwide Pants produced the ABC comedy series, The Knights Of Prosperity.

Worldwide Pants made significant news in December 2007 when it was announced that Letterman's company had independently negotiated its own contract with the Writers Guild of America, East, thus allowing Letterman, Craig Ferguson, and their writers to return to work, while the union continued its strike against production companies, networks and studios who had not reached an agreement.

Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR) is an auto racing team that currently races in the Indy Racing League. It is co-owned by 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and Letterman himself, and is based in Hilliard, Ohio. The team won the 2004 Indianapolis 500 with driver Buddy Rice.

American Foundation for Courtesy and Grooming is Letterman's private foundation. Through it, Letterman has donated millions of dollars to charities and other non-profits in Indiana and Montana, celebrity-affiliated organizations such as Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, universities such as Ball State, and other organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Salvation Army and Doctors without Borders.

Letterman also received a Sagamore of the Wabash from Governor Mitch Daniels.

Letterman appeared in issue 239 of the Marvel comic book The Avengers, in which the title characters are guests on Late Night. A parody of Letterman, called "David Endocrine", is gassed to death along with his bandleader named "Paul" and their audience in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.

Letterman provided vocals for the Warren Zevon song "Hit Somebody" from My Ride's Here, and provided the voice for Butt-head's father in the 1996 animated film, Beavis and Butt-head Do America. He also had a cameo in the feature film Cabin Boy, with Chris Elliott, who worked as a writer on Letterman's show. In this and other appearances, Letterman is listed in the credits as "Earl Hofert", the name of Letterman's maternal grandfather. He also appeared in a few episodes of The Larry Sanders Show.

David Letterman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father, Harry Joseph Letterman, was a florist who died in 1973; his mother Dorothy Letterman (née Hofert, now Dorothy Mengering) (born August 12, 1921), a Presbyterian church secretary of German descent, is an occasional figure on the show, usually at holidays and birthdays. He has an older sister Janice and a younger sister Gretchen.

Letterman lived near the Indianapolis Speedway and enjoyed collecting model cars, including racers. In 2000 he would tell an interviewer for Esquire that while he was growing up he admired his father's ability to tell jokes and be the life of the party. David Letterman's father, Harry Joseph Letterman, had a heart attack when he was only 36 years old and Dave was just a young boy. The fear of losing his dad was constantly with Letterman as he grew up. Harry Joseph Letterman died of a second heart attack at age 57.

Letterman attended his hometown's Broad Ripple High School. According to the Ball State Daily News, he originally had wanted to attend Indiana University, but his grades weren't good enough, so he decided to attend Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, and he graduated from what was then called the Department of Radio and Television, in 1969. Letterman began his broadcasting career as an announcer and newscaster at the college's student-run radio station, WBST, a 10-watt campus station that is today part of Indiana public radio. He was fired for treating classical music with irreverence.

Letterman then became involved with the founding of another campus station, WAGO-AM 570 (now known as WCRD, 91.3).

In 1969, Letterman married Michelle Cook; the marriage ended by divorce in 1977. He also had a long-term relationship with former head writer and producer on Late Night, Merrill Markoe.

Beginning in May 1988, Letterman was stalked by Margaret Mary Ray, a woman suffering from schizophrenia. Letterman occasionally referenced her in his show, although not by name. She committed suicide in 1998.

Letterman has a son, Harry Joseph (born November 3, 2003), with longtime girlfriend Regina Lasko. Harry is named after Letterman's father. The family resides in North Salem, New York on a 108-acre (0.44 km2) estate.

In 2005, police foiled a plot to kidnap Harry Letterman and ransom him for $5 million. Kelly Frank, a house painter who had worked for Letterman, was charged in the conspiracy.

To the top

Late Night with David Letterman


Late Night with David Letterman is a nightly hour-long comedy talk show on NBC hosted by David Letterman. It premiered in 1982 and went off the air in 1993, after Letterman left NBC and moved to The Late Show on CBS. Late Night with Conan O'Brien then filled the time slot.

In the past ten years, one show has moved to the position of the leader in late night television in creativity, humor, and innovation. That program is Late Night With David Letterman. As one member of the Peabody Board remarked, "David Letterman is a born broadcaster." He is also a savvy co-executive producer. Along with co-executive producer Jack Rollins, producer Robert Morton, director Hal Gurnee, and musical director Paul Shaffer, Mr. Letterman has surrounded himself with exceptional talent and given them the go-ahead to experiment with the television medium. Particularly noteworthy is the work of head writer Steve O'Donnell and his talented staff. Together, the "Late Night" team manages to take one of TV's most conventional and least inventive forms — the talk show — and infuse it with freshness and imagination. For television programming which, at its best, is evocative of the greats, from Your Show of Shows, to The Steve Allen Show, and The Ernie Kovacs Show, a Peabody to Late Night With David Letterman.

Replacing The Tomorrow Show and host Tom Snyder, David Letterman's first show was on February 1, 1982, with the final show on June 25, 1993. After the battle for The Tonight Show, when NBC gave it to comedian Jay Leno, Letterman was angry and decided to take an offer from CBS for a late night talk show to compete with The Tonight Show. So in 1993, Letterman and his crew moved to CBS and Late Show with David Letterman was born, beginning on August 30, 1993, although NBC would air repeats of Late Night until September 10, 1993. Up until this, all the major television networks tried to create talk shows to compete with the success of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, but all failed. A total of 1,810 shows were broadcast during its eleven and a half year run (an episode on January 16, 1991 went unaired due to pre-emption for coverage the beginning of the Gulf War; the program had already been shot before word came out of Baghdad that United States airstrikes were beginning).

The program ran four nights a week, Monday to Thursday, from the show's premiere in February 1982 until May 1987 from 12:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday shows were added in June 1987 (NBC previously aired Friday Night Videos in the 12:30 a.m. slot with occasional Late Night specials and reruns). Starting in September 1991, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was pushed back from 11:30 p.m. to 11:35 p.m., with Letterman starting at 12:35 a.m., at the request of NBC affiliates who wanted more advertising time for their profitable late newscasts (though Letterman had a different reason for the delay: "With the extra five minutes, I will make certain that my make-up is absolutely perfect!").

In September 1991, the A&E Network began airing reruns. The reruns lasted only until the summer of 1992. This first syndication deal was done against Letterman's wishes and he frequently made his displeasure known on-air (he felt having reruns air five nights a week, earlier in the evening and on another network, diluted the value of the first-run shows). Because of this the syndication run was ended early and not attempted again until he had left NBC.

In the summer of 1993, E! Entertainment Television purchased broadcast rights to Late Night. The network aired complete shows from various years five days per week from 1993 until 1996. Then Trio picked up reruns and showed them from 2002 until the channel went off the air in 2005.

A select number of programs were sold by "Goodtimes" Home Video in 1992–93. These episodes were stripped of the series theme, open and close. No DVD release is currently scheduled.

Letterman, who had hoped to get the hosting job of The Tonight Show following Johnny Carson's retirement, moved to CBS in 1993, when the job was given to Jay Leno. On April 25, 1993, Lorne Michaels chose Conan O'Brien, who was a writer for The Simpsons at the time. Conan O'Brien began hosting a new show in Letterman's old timeslot, taking over the Late Night name.

When Letterman left, NBC asserted their intellectual property rights to many of the most popular Late Night segments. Letterman easily adapted to these restrictions: the Viewer Mail segment was continued on the new show under the name CBS Mailbag, and the actor playing Larry "Bud" Melman continued his antics under his real name, Calvert DeForest.

Like other talk shows, the show featured at least two or three guests each night, usually including a comedian or musical guest.

Letterman frequently used crew members in his comedy bits, so viewers got to know the writers and crew members of the show. Common contributors included bandleader Paul Shaffer, Chris Elliott, Calvert DeForest as "Larry 'Bud' Melman", announcer Bill Wendell, writer Adam Resnick, scenic designer Kathleen Ankers, stage manager Biff Henderson, producer Robert Morton, director Hal Gurnee, associate director Peter Fatovich, stage hand Al Maher, camera operator Baily Stortz and the "production twins", Barbara Gaines and Jude Brennan.

Letterman's show established a reputation for being unpredictable. A number of celebrities had even stated that they were afraid of appearing on the show. This reputation was born out of moments like Letterman's verbal sparring matches with Cher and Shirley MacLaine.

To the top

Madonna on Late Show with David Letterman

Dave trying to get the top 10 list

Madonna's appearance on Letterman was heavily censored.

When Madonna appeared on Late Show with David Letterman on March 31, 1994, her coarse language, including thirteen uses of the word "fuck", made the episode the most censored in American network television talk-show history; it also resulted in some of the highest ratings of Letterman's late-night career.

Madonna's language and behavior—provocative, seemingly random at times, peppered with four-letter words (mostly "Fuck" and "Shit"), full of double entendres, and ending with a refusal to leave the set—caused a public controversy.

The Federal Communications Commission received numerous complaints, echoing Letterman's remarks that "people don't want strong language in their homes on late night television".

Letterman steered his questioning toward her private life and, in particular, the singer's reported relationships with several NBA players. Madonna replied with a series of sexual innuendos, commenting "that microphone is really long"; Letterman responded by talking about her friendship with Charles Barkley. When Letterman abruptly changed topic and asked about her nose ring in an ambiguous way ("Did it hurt when you had that thing put in, uh, put in your nose?"), Madonna laughed and said "I thought you were going to ask me if it hurt something else..." which spurred a collective groan from the studio audience.

Prior to the first commercial break (which Madonna objected to, citing that she wanted to "break the rules" and not conform to the constraints of American network television), the star asked Letterman if he was wearing a "rug"; never missing the opportunity for a joke, the host, referring to Madonna's short slicked-down hairstyle, replied by asking Madonna if she was wearing a swim cap.

After the commercial break, Madonna told Letterman that he had changed since her last visit, that he was no longer "cool" or challenging to his guests. Letterman asked her what was really bothering her; the star told the audience that she was angry that the comedian always (in Letterman's words - "periodically") made references to her sex life on the show.

When Madonna continued to swear, the director cut to an elderly couple from Appleton, Wisconsin in the audience, visibly shocked by Madonna's language; this was followed by a video montage featuring Madonna-related comedy monologues. After a second commercial break, Madonna asked Letterman whether he had ever urinated in the shower, claiming it was an antiseptic to fight athlete's foot.

During the interview, Letterman asked Madonna if she had a boyfriend ("Are you currently interested in someone?"). She responded that she did, and when asked what his name was, she replied, "Dave." Letterman then attempted to deflect the obvious implication by asking her if she was talking about David Dinkins, former mayor of New York.

Toward the end of the interview, she also asked whether he had ever smoked "Endo", a slang reference to marijuana. Looking uncomfortable, the host told the singer that he had no idea what she was talking about; Madonna called him a liar which led Letterman to make light of the embarrassing question by acting like Johnny Carson.

Another guest, who was the United States Grocery Bagging Champion at the time, was scheduled to appear on the show that evening, but his segment was cut, due to Madonna refusing to leave the stage when her interview was over. The Counting Crows concluded the show with a performance of "Round Here".

Madonna later explained her behavior as a failed attempt to make a stand against television censorship, and made-up with Letterman by having him escort her onstage at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards.

Fans of both Letterman and Madonna have urged CBS to release the episode on DVD. As of 2006, the show is only available as a bootleg from various websites and file sharing networks.

Ironically, during her Re-Invention Tour in 2004, Madonna imposed a "cursing fine" on anyone caught swearing backstage.

During her early-evening set at Live 8 in July 2005, Madonna screamed, "Are you fucking ready, London?" to the crowd in Hyde Park, London. Just like CBS eleven years prior, the BBC, who were broadcasting the event, received a number of complaints.

To the top

Sketches featured on Late Show with David Letterman

The Ed Sullivan Theater, where the Late Show is taped.

CBS's Late Show with David Letterman regularly features different sketches that follow the monologue and precede interviews with guests. Often these are repeated absurdist segments, involving various cast members, Dave's friends, audience participation, edited or contrived news or promotional videos, or competitions or stunts staged outside the Ed Sullivan Theater.

There are also running gags, which may continue for about a month, such as playing "José Feliciano's Old Turkey Buzzard" or other sound effects when a card "crashes through the window" or telephone calls from "Len Easton, California Highway Patrol" or Joe McCain on a telephone that Dave acknowledges is a prop that is not connected. Dave expresses amusement or annoyance when these recur.

This article focuses on sketches that have been featured on the Late Show, past and present.

Announcer Alan Kalter's introduction of Letterman, while technically not a skit, assigns a bizarre modification to Letterman's name and appears at the beginning of every show. ("And now: Microscopic Sea Creature, David Letterman!") Letterman's title changes every night and often makes reference to a current event. ("And now: Disenfranchised French Youth, David Letterman!") Prior to September 11, 2001, the first line of Kalter's introductions contained humorous descriptions of New York City ("From New York! Where the rats hate the subways, too!"). Once the Late Show returned to air on September 17, 2001, the introduction changed simply to, "From New York! The greatest city in the world!" It has not changed since; however, "The greatest city in the world!" is omitted from episodes with guest hosts, as is the host 'title'.

While Letterman himself often participated in many of the show's non-"desk comedy" routines in its earlier years (as well as on Late Night), over time he has increasingly preferred to have others star in them instead. Letterman is now rarely featured in any of the show's frequent pre-taped bits.

Kalter, bandleader and sidekick Paul Shaffer, and Hello Deli proprietor Rupert Jee are often utilized instead in comedy routines, as are stage manager Biff Henderson, stagehands Pat Farmer and Kenny Sheehan, handyman George Clarke, "cue card boy" Tony Mendez, head carpenter Harold Larkin, cameraman Dave Dorsett, assistant Stephanie Birkitt, former writers Gerard Mulligan and Chris Elliott (who almost always appear together), and Johnny Dark (a personal comedy friend of Letterman's).

Letterman's mother, Dorothy, also makes appearances (via satellite from Indianapolis) from time to time, including each Thanksgiving. She perhaps rose to fame mostly as a result of her nightly reporting from the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Former recurring players from the show include Sirajul Islam and Mujibur Rahman (employees of a nearby gift store which has since relocated), Calvert DeForest, and scenic designer Kathleen Ankers (reprising her Late Night role of "Peggy, the Foulmouthed Chambermaid"; on CBS, she was the equally censored "Helen, the Ill-tempered Ticket Lady").

Countless random cameo appearances had been made during the span of the show, most notably in the earlier years by the late Tony Randall, with Regis Philbin filling that void in recent years.

For a while, Letterman took great delight in making fun of his employer, continuing a tradition established at NBC, with senior CBS Corporation executive Les Moonves often serving as the target of his abuse. In time, Letterman's relationship with Moonves has improved; a segment titled "More with Les" features jocular phone calls between Letterman and Moonves.

When Letterman left NBC and moved to CBS to begin the Late Show in the summer of 1993, several of Late Night's long-running comedy bits made the move with him, including perhaps his best known, the Top Ten List. Letterman renamed a few of his regular bits to avoid legal problems over trademark infringement (NBC cited that what he did on Late Night was "intellectual property" of the network). For example, "Viewer Mail" on NBC became the "CBS Mailbag", and Larry "Bud" Melman began to use his real name, Calvert DeForest.

One recurring sketch on both the NBC and CBS shows has been the destruction of household items by various methods including explosives, steamrollers, and - most often - throwing them off the roof of the Ed Sullivan Theater. While popular with fans, Letterman has gradually lessened the frequency of such segments in recent years.

Letterman also has a knack for consuming food products and drinks that appear on his show. Among the items that he has consumed are: wine from a bottle used for a cooking demonstration; various kinds of liquor (while quipping "We're gonna lose our liquor license"); Popeye's "Full Flavor Green Beans;" "motor oil" (actually chocolate syrup) from a bottle that bore a "Quaker State" label; Red Bull; liquid from a bottle that supposedly contained Wite-Out; pills from boxes labeled "Lipitor" and "Cialis" (obviously not really the drugs); and even cosmetic products. On one occasion, Dave took a healthy swig of "low-carb suntan lotion" and immediately spit it out, having discovered that it actually was suntan lotion.

The Late Show is well known for its repeated absurdist segments, often taking the form of competitions or audience participation. The charm of such segments is often that they are completely pointless, yet are taken seriously by Letterman and all involved.

Recently, the Top Ten List has often become a casualty of time constraints, often being pulled from the show at the last minute. Dave will often announce that the Top Ten List is coming up, or Kalter will promote it before the first commercial, when, in fact, it is not delivered on that night's show and is instead held until the next morning, when it is broadcast across Westwood One/CBS Radio Network.

Great Moments in Presidential Speeches was a near-daily segment presented a series of three video excerpts. Originally, the first two come from actual famous moments, Franklin Roosevelt's inaugural speech ("The only thing we have to fear is fear itself") and John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech ("Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country").

After a few months into the segment's inception, the Kennedy inauguration clip began to include a Late Show staffer (often dressed in formal period garb) superimposed over the empty seat to Kennedy's right. The staffers included announcer Alan Kalter, "cue card boy" Tony "Inky" Mendez (who showed cue cards to President Kennedy), costume designer Susan Hum (whose actions included taking his picture with a disposable camera, removing lint from his shoulder, stealing his wallet, and eating a jumbo pretzel), associate producer Nancy Agostini, and stage manager Biff Henderson. All "cameos" ended with the staffers clapping along in real-time response to Kennedy's speech.

After the incident when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at Bush, flying shoes were shown in the introductory vignettes of the other Presidents, including shoes thrown at Johnny Lincoln (Dark) giving the Gettysburg Address.

The last airing of the sketch involving Bush was January 16th, four days before the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The first airing of the sketch after President Barack Obama entered office was Monday January 26, 2009, but the Obama speech that was captured appeared to have no comedic value. On the next GMIPS, aired January 28, 2009, President Obama's face was superimposed over the body of former president Bush in one of his speeches, pretending that Obama was speaking comically, but it was actually the voice of President Bush. After that, other sketches, such as "This Day in the Clinton Marriage," were substituted in the time slot when "Great Moments" previously appeared.

An item is dropped into a tank of water by two models, often referred to by Letterman as "The Hi-Ho Girls." The segment starts out with Kalter identifying a household item that will be tested, and a faux prize that is supposedly at stake. A picture of that prize is flashed on screen for a split second. Letterman and Shaffer debate the buoyant properties of the item before they each decide on whether it will sink or float (a frequent deciding factor is the nature of the item's container).

Two models then drop the item into the tank while the Late Show "Hula Hoop Girl" (Anna Jack) and "Grinder Girl" (Kiva Kahl) perform on either side of the tank. Depending upon the outcome, large flashing words appear reading, "It Floats!" (accompanied by a ringing bell) or "It Sinks!" (accompanied by a buzzer).

Letterman often espouses the educational merit of the game in jest, citing positive feedback from parents, educators, and clergymen. He has acknowledged that while the segment is not popular with the Late Show staff, he insists on continuing it for his own amusement. According to Letterman, the skit was adapted from a similar BBC programme entitled "Is It Buoyant?" He also often advertises the (fictional) "Will It Float" home game, which "has everything you need in a box to play the game for only $19.99." The game consists only of a list of suggested household items and a bottle of water. Recently, Dave has also been advertising the Playstation 3 version of the "Will It Float?" home game, and in the past would highlight the Xbox 360 version. At one point, he issued viewers a warning to stay away from the knockoff version, "Does it Sink?," which could be found being hawked by street vendors on Canal Street. After the game is over, Letterman often addresses the women by saying he will see them at "the big 'Will It Float?' party" after the show.

After about thirty seconds the curtain is lowered and Letterman discusses with Shaffer whether the act was "something" or "nothing." As the segment continued over the course of time, Letterman would increasingly express disinterest in the featured performer, opting instead to admire the Grinder Girl. Shaffer in turn would often admit to having been too distracted with his performance of the music.

Is This Anything lay dormant for almost a year before it was resurrected on the March 22, 2006 episode. A man balanced himself on a ladder and juggled: Paul voted a clear "nothing", and Dave was going to vote "something" before he noticed a safety mat. Dave then concurred with Paul.

In an uncharacteristic move, Dave invited Sharon Osbourne to assist in officiating Is This Anything on the July 26, 2007 episode, due to her involvement with America's Got Talent. The act consisted of a man balancing an aluminum ladder on his chin while riding a unicycle, and all three agreed that it was nothing.

Often presented on Mondays, Letterman presents a series of actual news items, advertisements, and police blotter excerpts which are shown to be unintentionally humorous. In earlier incarnations, Letterman would precede the segment by asking the audience to "please wait for the humorous comment," which consisted of him reciting a scripted follow-up to each news item. While this ostensibly differentiated the segment from Jay Leno's similar sketch, "Headlines," the current revival of "Small Town News" only includes an occasional impromptu remark from Letterman.

Thursday episodes usually include one of three rotating variations of audience participation segments. Each game starts with Letterman making small talk with each of the featured audience members, asking about their background and occupations, often with humorous results. When the individual has completed their portion, they are given a gift certificate to a local restaurant as well as random gift items. Occasionally, the participant is a ringer from the show staff.

Usually presented on Fridays, the segment consists of Letterman reading a series of random trivia, records, and statistics. Letterman explains that they are submitted to the show each week by "Gary Sherman," an acquaintance at the Federal Bureau of Miscellaneous Information, a supposed subsection of the United States Census Bureau. The segment often begins with Letterman presenting a few actual facts to set up the premise (although they are often of a humorous nature in their own right and are mistaken by some audience members as made-up). He then presents several humorous, fictional "facts." Most of these are of an absurdist nature, such as "The first pair of binoculars had a 1x magnification," or "For a short amount of time, the rock band The Who broke up, and formed two new bands called The When and The What." An irrelevant promotional announcement of some kind is mixed in on occasion, much to Letterman's confusion.

The segment was initially presented on the show sporadically before being made a regular weekly feature. Letterman is also promoting a Fun Facts book (unlike the Will it Float? game, a real book, ISBN 978-1401323073).

A camera crew is sent to Rupert Jee in the neighboring Hello Deli, where Jee is asked to invite a potential player from the crowd outside. The player introduces his or herself, relates his or her background, and is told what prize is to be won. Regardless of the outcome, the player is also awarded a "Hello Deli Platter" by the Hi-Ho Girls.

Recurring games include "Beat the Clock" (where the confused player helplessly attempts to stop a clock from counting down to zero) and "What's on the iPod?" (where Rupert sings along to a song on his iPod and the contestant has to guess what song he is singing). Other random games involve a player searching for a hidden item in the deli, and guessing the nature of an item obscured under an item of clothing worn by Jee (such as a Hillary Clinton-esque pantsuit). Occasionally, the "player" is a plant and the segment ends when the "player" appears to be severely injured. Johnny Dark has also appeared as a contestant under various names, and the routine consists of Dark asking so many questions that there is no time for the game. Biff Henderson has hosted similar games on the street.

These segments were carried over from Late Night, and consist of three pre-selected participants (or in the case of "Pet Tricks," pets and their owners), who each demonstrate an unusual talent or stunt on the stage. Letteman will often precede the segment with the tongue-in-cheek warning: "Remember, this is not a competition, it is only an exhibition — please, no wagering." While still a trademark feature of the Late Show, the segment has been featured on a more sporadic basis in recent years. The show's regular "Audience Show and Tell" bit will often include an audience member performing a "Stupid Human Trick"-type act.

It can also be purchased online at CBS' online store, with the proceeds benefitting the American Foundation for Courtesy and Grooming, a charity of Letterman's which contributes its proceeds to a wide variety of foundations, most of which are of a health, youth, or educational nature.

The Wahoo Gazette is the verifiable source for this information.

To the top

Source : Wikipedia