Surprise! Bill Murray crawls out of a cake for last Letterman appearance

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

8 of the most notorious Letterman moments.

After his interview with Letterman, the “Groundhog Day” actor hopped over to MSNBC for “The Last Word,” but it seemed he might have celebrated a little too hard at CBS.Tuesday marked the penultimate episode of “Late Show With David Letterman,” but it was guest Bill Murray who stole the spotlight with his tribute to the exiting host — and with his antics when the show was over.Following an announcement made over a year ago, tonight marks the final time David Letterman will take the stage as host of CBS ’ Late Show in order to vacate the seat to Stephen Colbert later this year.When David Letterman signs off from the Ed Sullivan Theater one last time on May 20, he’ll be saying goodbye to decades of interviews with celebrities and “celebrities” alike.

Murray, known for his physical hijinks, first fell out of his chair on live cable TV, but it’s when he began to slur his words that it looked like he really might be impaired. From left are Ray Dupree, Buckbee, Alton Brown and Eric Chasteen. (Photo by Lee Sentell, courtesy Ray Dupree) It was episode 702 of more than 6,000 shows. For many reasons, the exit of David Letterman is a major moment in late-night history not only because it cements Dave as the last man standing of his “late-night class” that included the likes of Jay Leno and Craig Kilborn, but because of what the veteran comedian’s exit will mean for the genre. During Murray’s earlier appearence on “Late Show,” he jumped out of a giant three-layer cake that had the words “Goodbye Dave” splashed across the front and fell to the floor. “You’ve had a wonderful run,” he told the host after taking a shot of vodka. “You fell in love and you married a virgin who gave birth to an infant god child … then your wife gave up the virgin thing completely and you’ve been rolling ever since. ” Following his interview, the comedian ran out of the studio covered in cake in an attempt to get others to help him convince the host to stay, singing the lyrics “more Worldwide Pants” to the tune of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.”

There was a reigning TV goddess in the green room, an expensive piece of space-age machinery on the stage, an All-City wrestler and a wise-guy, uncooperative talk show host. Coupled with the forthcoming retirement of Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, there’s about to be an empty “top dog” seat in late-night for the first time in 25 years.

The comedian “feuded” with professional wrestler Jerry Lawler in the early ’80s, culminating in a furious debate over who was to blame for Kaufman ending up in a neck brace. In the run-up to Thursday’s episode, Letterman has recruited A-listers across all disciples for a trip down memory lane, including Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. Letterman could always claim he was the last guy of the old-guard and has the most longevity in the game, while Stewart could claim he had the most watched late-night program among the younger skewing millennial crowd… but none of the new entrants can say either of those things.

After Letterman introduced the pop star by saying, “In the past 10 years, she has sold over 80 million albums, starred in countless films, and slept with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry,” Madonna retaliated with 14 f-bombs and enough sexual innuendos to make the interview one of the highest-rated TV programs of the year. Whether it be John Oliver, Samantha Bee, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Larry Wilmore, Conan O’Brien, James Corden or Stephen Colbert, no one can claim they’re number one in the late-night arena. In 1995, a young Drew Barrymore hopped onto Letterman’s desk and delivered the flash seen around the world. “It was scary,” Barrymore told EW about the moment. “I’m so glad that from the moment I went on—especially with my fun little dance number, which was completely spontaneous and not calculated in any way—he let the audience know that it was all okay.” Fawcett went a little off-script—or rather, make that way off-script. Letterman was less concerned with being strapped into the 5DF than with cracking jokes and repeating Buckbee’s name with a loud emphasis on the first syllable and a pause in between. “Ed BUCK-bee, ladies and gentlemen.” He invited Buckbee and his Space Camp team – “The Buckaroos,” Letterman nicknamed them – back for a show in July 1986.

In a rambling interview, she impersonated a New Yorker, defined the word “embankment,” and baffled Letterman, who would go on to refer to her appearance in several shows to come. For more on Letterman, watch Bob Dylan’s performance from last night’s episode and read what other late night hosts like Jimmy Kimmel have to say about Letterman’s legacy before he ends his late night run tonight. Though he mastered physical comedy long ago, Murray’s slip from his “Last Word” seat seemed genuine, as did his occasional slurred speech during his unscheduled chat about the end of Letterman’s era. Chasteen and Dupree drove it to New York on a pickup truck, then yielded it to “the tender clutches of the Teamsters” in the NBC basement, Dupree recalled.

Richards—Kramer to Seinfeld fans—appeared on the show via satellite after Jerry Seinfeld persuaded him to make an on-air apology for spewing the N-word at a West Hollywood comedy club. Smith distributed a bunch of Apollo 11 commemorative coins and “they carried that metal monster like it was nitroglycerin.” Part of Letterman’s greatness is his spontaneity. Instead of inspiring sympathy from the studio audience, however, his disjointed appeal—along with his use of the term “Afro-Americans”—welcomed laughter that only made his situation worse.

Over the last few years, some of late-night’s new players have used the web as a way to try and attract new viewers to the various variety programming available to them. From Kimmel’s viral pranks to Fallon’s placing of nearly every segment of The Tonight Show online, there’s already a rising tide of new methods that are being used to get audiences interested in late-night again. Letterman eventually gave up trying to coax full-sentence responses out of Phoenix, and told the star, “We’re sorry you couldn’t be here tonight.” It’s plenty uncomfortable to watch—even knowing that the whole thing was just an act for Phoenix’s faux-docmentary I’m Still Here.

As Letterman leaned back in his chair and threw pencils toward the ceiling, trying to make them stick in the soft tile, they discussed bringing the show to Space Camp. Today, the shows are just as much about the likability of the hosts and their ability to be funny as much as they are the guests… but in order for a late-night host to be at a place of likeability to the point where people are tuning in for them and not the celebrity, they need to have found their voice.

Many fans are going to start looking for their next regularly schedule late-night host, and their search isn’t going to be concluded in a matter of weeks, or even months. It’s going to take time, perhaps years in a worst case scenario, for audiences to re-discover the new crop of talent coming (or already on) the small screen.

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