David Letterman Through the Years

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bill Murray celebrates a bit too much after David Letterman cake jump.

Tonight, after more than 33 years, David Letterman ends his legendary career as a late-night TV host. When it comes to Bill Murray, it’s always safe to expect the unexpected, so the actor didn’t disappoint when he entered the studio by jumping out of an oversized cake.In the two months since James Corden began his chat show on America’s CBS network, he has won positive reviews and a modest but appreciative audience for his cheerful mix of games, songs, sketches and fluffy celebrity interviews.Introduced as “the greatest songwriter of modern times”, Dylan performed the appropriately-titled “The Night We Called It A Day” from his latest album, Shadows in the Night.Another special treat for Letterman was musician Bob Dylan, who made his first TV appearance in more than 20 years to play on last night’s programme.

To mark the occasion, we asked Merrill Markoe—co-creator and original head writer of NBC’s Late Night With David Letterman, where Dave got his start—to recount some of her favorite moments from her tenure on the show (1982-1988). “Bear in mind,” she warns, “that the segments that stand out for me are not the ones the world at large cared much about.” Here, then, in her own words, “are just five memories that I still kinda like.” “There was a funny idea floating around about having ‘instant reunions’—it started as an idea about forcing reunions onto members of comedy teams who hated each other, and ended up getting sillier and sillier. Wearing overalls and goggles and covered in cream, he hugged Letterman, rubbed his messy hands in the 68-year-old’s hair, fist-bumped the musical director and then ventured into the audience to lock lips with a female audience member. Corden’s Late Late Show is broadcast at 12.30am each weekday, but is wholesome and unthreatening it could as easily be broadcast at 11 in the morning.

After 33 years in late night and 22 years hosting CBS’ “Late Show,” Letterman will retire on May 20. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) (Alex Brandon | AP) NEW YORK (AP) — David Letterman leaves late night on Wednesday after 33 years when he retires from CBS’ “Late Show,” his TV home since 1993. In 1995 actress Drew Barrymore flashed the talk show host for his birthday, and in 1994 Madonna turned the air blue by swearing profusely while being interviewed.

Then we decided to have a reunion of a bunch of people who were all eating at the same Chinese restaurant. “After we picked the place, and collected the names, the piece kept growing because the restaurant we picked was called Szechuan State. We somehow found another place called Hunan Wok University and decided we would also have a food delivery race by ordering takeout and seeing which food got there first.

Last night’s show also featured comedian Bill Murray, who was Letterman’s first guest back in 1982 and has joined him an impressive 44 times in total. Knowing we were going to do this, we took the cameras down to both places and did a tour of the “campuses,” like they’d do for a college bowl game. “I remember this fondly not because it was such an audience-pleaser, but because it was the biggest possible fulfillment of such a silly idea.

Letterman showed some highlights from those 44 appearances on Tuesday’s show, and the montage points to another reason Murray was the last guest standing: He’s extraordinarily fun, and goofy. The 68-year-old – who retires on a reported annual salary of $20 million – has changed the face of American comedy, making it more knowing, more cynical and smarter. I really liked it.” “A taped piece by Tom Gammill and Max Pross, shot in the earnest style of an old educational film, where Dave explains the sad reality of show cancellation to a seven-year-old boy who is mourning the loss of his favorite show [Voyagers!]. Letterman has been called an inspiration by US comic heavyweights such as Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Jon Stewart, the writers of the Simpsons, and – in the UK – Ricky Gervais and Jonathan Ross.

—Peter Weber On Wednesday, Swiss bank UBS AG said it would plead guilty to manipulating benchmark interest rates and pay a total of $545 million in penalties to U.S. authorities to resolve those charges and new ones related to currency manipulation. If anything, he seemed drawn more to civilians, whether the proprietor of Hello Deli, the owners of the animals performing Stupid Pet Tricks or his own staff members, like stage manager Biff Henderson. Aside from the $342 million penalty for its foreign-exchange meddling, UBS won’t face any other legal repercussions in that case, though several other large banks are expected to announced settlements with U.S. regulators in coming weeks. Carson approved the selection of the-then moderately successful stand-up comic, David Letterman, as the host of Late Night, the programme scheduled to follow his perennial Tonight Show. The $203 million fine and guilty plea stems from an earlier case, and UBS has to pay up now because the new fraud charges prompted the Justice Department to tear up a 2012 non-prosecution agreement with the bank.

Where Johnny, by 1982, had evolved into a relaxed, avuncular, elder statesman with a wry quip and a twinkle in his eye, Letterman was an anxious, secure introvert, uncomfortable in his own skin and uneasy around others. Seizing on the one thing she could talk about that might make her interesting — her recent jail time for violating probation — Letterman, grinning but relentless, posed one question after another about her time in the slammer as she grew increasingly unsettled. When she finally tried to call a halt to his interrogation (“I don’t want to talk about it anymore”) he responded graciously, “This is where you and I are different.

Aman said the three countries would “provide humanitarian assistance” to 7,000 migrants at sea, though the United Nations could only count about 4,000. Dave introduced his mother, Dorothy, to the world for the 1994 Winter Olympics, dispatching her to Lillehammer, Norway, where she interviewed first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (proposing her hubby “fix” Dave’s speeding tickets) and declined to sample reindeer meat, among her charming remotes shared with Letterman back in New York. Don’t forget, this was 20 years before an Internet full of this kind of video.” “Randy Cohen, who went on to be The Ethicist at The New York Times Magazine, came up with some of my favorite cerebral ideas. Buddhist militants have been attacking the Rohingyas in Myanmar, and human traffickers have been shifting to the sea as neighboring countries crack down on land migration routes.

It wouldn’t be the last time Dorothy would make a “Late Show” appearance, as Dave continued his wise policy of making Mom a member of his talent pool. Peter Weber Jimmy Kimmel, it turns out, was kind of obsessed with David Letterman’s Late Night when he was a kid, Kimmel said on Tuesday’s Kimmel Live. Staying up late to watch him and then talk about the show the following morning became a rite of passage for nerdy American high-schoolers who could relate to Letterman’s sarcasm, and the delight he derived from stunts like strapping a camera to a roller-skating monkey and devoting much of the show to following the chimp as it scampered throughout the studio.

Letterman was the protege of Johnny Carson, who ruled late night for 30 years as host of “The Tonight Show,” and he was the King of Late Night’s heir apparent, despite what NBC thought when it tapped Jay Leno instead. Where Carson was known for lengthy segments where he interviewed senior citizens and their oddly-shaped potatoes, Letterman’s growing cult was transfixed by the host strapping himself into a suit made of Alka-Seltzer and being lowered into a tub of water, or gleefully throwing watermelons off the roof of a five-story building (Letterman was making viral videos before there was such a thing). “I didn’t know if the stupid stuff would alienate people,” he recently said. “I didn’t know if the traditional stuff would be more appealing. Carson made his preference clear forever the night of May 13, 1994: Unannounced, he strode onto “Late Show” to personally hand the Top Ten list to Dave while the studio audience went wild. Which probably helps explain why his farewell and thank you message to Letterman got so emotional, with Kimmel tearing up not once, but at least twice. “Not only did I learn to do everything from Dave,” he said, but “the reason I have this show is because the executives at ABC saw me when I was a guest on Dave’s show and hired me to host this show.” He then specifically asked people to watch Letterman on Wednesday night, not his show (which will be a rerun), “especially if you’re a young person who doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. And then, when I look back on it now, of course the answer is you want to do the weird thing.” Like many an introvert, Letterman made a virtue of his discomfort, turning his show business interviews into combative encounters.

We taped a regular show, then Randy transcribed it verbatim, and professional voiceover actors redubbed it, the way you would have them do a foreign film. Dave is the best, and you should see him.” He ended his tribute with an old Late Night segment he dug up that “sums up how I feel this week almost supernaturally well.” It’s as moving a farewell as Letterman is likely to get.

Asked why it had taken so long for her to agree to do his show, Cher replied, “Because I thought you were an asshole.” Late Night was a more welcoming berth for a different kind of performer. Grouchy comic-book artist Harvey Pekar was a regular guest, as were Pee Wee Herman and Sandra Bernhard and the cult comedian and Taxi star Andy Kaufman.

Dave apologized for getting serious, but, obviously heartsick, he declared, “I just need to hear myself talk for a couple of minutes,” whereupon he delivered an eight-minute confessional of grief and Midwestern plainspokenness. “There is only one requirement for any of us,” he said. “To be courageous.” Then he added, “Pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing.” It was courageous. “Wait till you hear what happened to me!” grinned Letterman upon his much-awaited return to “Late Show” on Feb. 21, 2000, after several weeks’ absence. That eventually led me to do pieces from the POV of a dog (“films by Bob the Dog”) and Randy Cohen to write Monkey-Cam, from the POV of a camera strapped to a monkey, and Thrill-Cam, where we strung the camera on a high-wire above the studio.”

Even if you’re David Letterman —Peter Weber If you don’t launder your new clothes and sheets — yes, even the packaged ones — after bringing them home from the store (or getting them in the mail), you’re making a gross mistake, according to Wall Street Journal contributor Heidi Mitchell. Untold numbers of people have touched the item, there may be mold and probably are chemicals like formaldehyde, and the “surprises are even more disgusting,” Mitchell tells Tanya Rivero in the video below.

His skill at crisis management was displayed in a 10-minute explanation during which he owned up to his sins while disclosing he had helped in the arrest of the man who tried to blackmail him. They didn’t just give his new Late Show a permanent home in Broadway’s legendary Ed Sullivan Theater, they renamed it the David Letterman Theater. Letterman told viewers a year ago it was time to step away: “I’ve spent half my life in makeup.” After Wednesday, the makeup comes off, by Dave’s choice. David Letterman didn’t just have the most watched, most discussed talk show on network TV, he did it without significantly altering or diluting his personality or content. His personality was still abrasive. “I never thought I was being mean,” he has said. “I thought I was just goofing around.” He still reveled in ridiculous stunts, many of which now involved his immediate Broadway neighbours, the proprietors of a gift store and pizza place.

Drew Barrymore created the blueprint for a generation of young actresses making their Letterman debut when she blushingly declared her love for him, mounted his desk and flashed him. “I can’t thank you enough for that,” was his solemn response. But, perhaps because he found favour with Middle America, while Letterman’s fan base was mainly concentrated on the East and West Coasts, Leno became the winner of the late night wars. Letterman was, at times, openly bored and his lack of interest in conducting yet another celebrity interview was obvious. (The mutual dislike between Letterman and Jennifer Aniston was painful to behold. And we had to behold it on several occasions.) Over the next decades, he would survive a stalker who continually invaded his home, a quintuple bypass and an attempt to extort him by a boyfriend of a former intern with whom he had been sleeping (Letterman addressed the incident on his show).

Occupying permanent second-place to Jay Leno – who he affectionately referred to as Big Jaw – seemed to no longer plague him. “All I have to do, really, is pick out a tie and sit down,” he once said of his job. At the conclusion of Joaquin Phoenix’s infamous 2009 interview conducted in character as a rambling, bearded enigma, Letterman said, “Joaquin, I’m sorry you couldn’t be here tonight.” And now, at 68, he’s walking away from the desk.

Over the past few weeks, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Adam Sandler, Tom Hanks and many more lined up to pay their respects. Stand-up comic Norm Macdonald, famous for his bone-dry delivery, openly wept at the end of his appearance last week, telling the equally affection-shy Letterman, “I love you”.

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