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May 22nd 1986
David Letterman Interviewing Cher

LETTERMAN: Well, she's gonna be out here in a second. Let me introduce her. It took my guest four years to agree to be on this program, and we're very happy she's here, a star in the truest sense of the word. Please welcome Cher.

(Cher comes out, and she flips the bird to Paul, but she half-hides it like Dave does sometimes)

LETTERMAN: Well, that's very nice.

CHER: I know, but you're not supposed to see that. How are you doing? How are you?

SHAFFER: Fabulous.

CHER: Thank you.

SHAFFER: Have you met David Letterman?

LETTERMAN: How do you do.

CHER: No. I've been waiting for four years.

LETTERMAN: Nice to see you. How are you. Thanks for being here. What was the record you guys did?

CHER: We did "Take Me Home," yes.

SHAFFER: That's right. "Too Far Gone."

CHER: Yes. Was your leg broken? No, that was Bob Estes' leg was broken.

SHAFFER: That was Bob Estes.

CHER: Okay, right. That's interesting to you guys.

LETTERMAN: How's Bob feeling now?

CHER: He's better.

LETTERMAN: Good, good. You smell terrific. You really smell great. Do you mind if I ask you -- I mean, I knew you'd smell nice, but, I mean, you smell --

CHER: You mean --

LETTERMAN: Yeah. Can you mention the scent or would you rather not?

CHER: Yeah. Well, it's two together. One's real cheap. It's called Ritz. It's like Tabu, good girls don't wear it. And the other is real expensive, called Vanilla.

LETTERMAN: And you just mix them up?

CHER: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: Well, the end result is quite effective.

CHER: Thank you.

LETTERMAN: Now, Cher --

CHER: Is this as good as it gets?


LETTERMAN: No, no. We got a lot of great stuff here. Don't worry. We're just warming up.

CHER: All right.

LETTERMAN: Really good stuff, a lot of really interesting provocative kind of things. What do you mean is this as good as it gets? Like what would have been a better thing to say to you? What should I have said?

CHER: I don't know, because I've watched this show.

LETTERMAN: Well, I'm glad of that.

CHER: And I guess anything is better than Chuck Grodin. Anything is better than what you guys did with Chuck Grodin.

LETTERMAN: Now, I know you didn't want to come on here for the longest time, so why, finally, after nearly four and a
half years, did you decide to come on?

CHER: I don't know. I thought it was one reason, but I'm sure that couldn't be it.

LETTERMAN: Now, what is the reason you thought it was?

CHER: I wanted to pay my hotel bill.

LETTERMAN: You have a big hotel bill?

CHER: I have a huge hotel bill, and I thought --

LETTERMAN: You mean you're staying in New York now?

CHER: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: And you don't have the cash to cover the bill?

CHER: Well, it's a pretty big one, so I thought I'll come on and see what this guy's like and --

LETTERMAN: Well, if you think this show will cover that hotel bill, you were sadly misled.

CHER: I heard that. I actually heard you get paid scale for this show.

LETTERMAN: It's nickels and dimes. It's like I was saying earlier. The Today Show is on a cruise somewhere and we're working with hairpins. That's what we get.

CHER: I know.

LETTERMAN: Now, do you live in New York now? You live in California?

CHER: I kind of go back and forth.

LETTERMAN: So at this time you're staying in New York. How long have you been here?

CHER: Since October.

LETTERMAN: In a hotel since October?

CHER: No. I've been in a hotel for actually the last couple of months.

LETTERMAN: And you want us to cover this? Did we agree to pay for part of this?

CHER: Yes.

LETTERMAN: Is that right?


LETTERMAN: Okay. So you thought that was one reason but, of course, that's not really the reason. What was the reason? You must have had a change of heart about something.

CHER: No. Actually, I don't know, because I thought that I would never want to do this show with you.

LETTERMAN: Now why? Now, let's explore this a little. Why, because you thought I was --

CHER: An asshole.

(Hoots, boos and hollers)

LETTERMAN: They're of course not booing. They're just chanting, "Cher, Cher." And, of course, for you folks at home who may have missed that, what she said was she thought I was an awfully nice guy.

CHER: No. An astronaut.

LETTERMAN: An astronaut.

CHER: I thought you were an astronaut.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah. See, I know, I know. I knew that's how you felt. I knew you probably felt that way.

CHER: Because I told the guy on your show.

LETTERMAN: Who's that?

CHER: That guy over there. I don't know where he is now.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah.

CHER: Because you guys had tried to get me. I was doing Live at Five one time. But I very much enjoy your show.

LETTERMAN: Well, you don't have to say this now.

CHER: No, you know -- well, you don't know me, but I wouldn't say it, I mean, because --

LETTERMAN: Well, we've always really -- when the show first went on the air, you were on the original list of people we wanted to have, because we all thought the world of you, you know, and we're happy you're finally here. Now, let's talk about something else.

CHER: Okay.

LETTERMAN: You know, I think a lot of people feel that way about me though. I just get that feeling, you know.

CHER: For some reason -- it isn't' any more, but it was frightening, because I see how you deal with your guests, and
sometimes it's really great and you seem to like them, and then sometimes if you don't like them, I mean, you might as well take a picnic lunch, you know?


CHER: I think it's because you have the freedom to kind of do whatever you want to because --

LETTERMAN: Nobody's watching.

CHER: -- because nobody's watching.

LETTERMAN: Exactly, yeah, but, you know, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, well, I could explain this to you, but we want to talk more
about you, don't we?

CHER: Whatever you want to do is fine with me.

LETTERMAN: You look terrific, you know, you really look great.

CHER: Thank you.

LETTERMAN: Now I want to ask about this tattoo, and how many others do you have?

CHER: I have this one, and I have that one, and I have another -- I have two others besides that, four.

LETTERMAN: Now, why do you have tattoos? Because you have permanently now scarred your body.

CHER: Yeah. I think that, you know, it's like Dolly Parton says, when she does this she feels she's beautiful, you know, when she -- I like it, you know, I don't expect everyone to like it, but I think it's beautiful.

LETTERMAN: And you don't have any second thoughts about this?

CHER: Well, I've probably had a couple, but, you know, after I thought about it, I thought, you know, I'd like to do this.

LETTERMAN: Were you really drunk when you got the first one?


LETTERMAN: Which was the first one? Was this it?

CHER: No. It's the one I'm sitting on was the first one.

LETTERMAN: Oh, well. And what is that one?

CHER: Oh, flowers and stuff like that.

LETTERMAN: You've probably never seen it, have you? Whatever you want. Oh, I don't know, I don't know. And then --

CHER: Are you okay?

LETTERMAN: I don't know. Well, you know, with that asshole remark, you've kind of thrown me off. You're the first
person to call me that in person though. I mean, I'm sure they mutter that on the way out sometimes. What are we doing now? We'll do a commercial. You can stay a little longer, can't you?

CHER: Sure.

LETTERMAN: We'll get something really rolling here. It'll be great. Don't worry. It'll be great, and we'll be back here with Cher.


LETTERMAN: Thank you very much. Welcome back to the show. This is Cher and, of course, you know what I am.
This has really had kind of a disequilibri -- disequilibrizing -- disequilibrim kind of effect on me, thrown me off my pins here.

CHER: Your usual game.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah. Now, I understand you were going to wear some kind of an elaborate wig that's not with you
tonight. Does this ring a bell with you?


LETTERMAN: You had a wig sent to London?

CHER: Oh, yeah, I did.

LETTERMAN: What was that?

CHER: But then I decided I didn't want to do that.

LETTERMAN: Now, how do you send a wig to London and what do you have done to it over there?

CHER: Well, you just send it over in a box and someone combs it out and they send it back to you.

LETTERMAN: You can't get somebody here to do that?

CHER: Yeah, of course you could, but I can't. Anybody else in their right mind would but I --

LETTERMAN: You purchased this item in London?

CHER: No. I had it made here, and I thought that, I don't know, I was getting ready and I thought, well, this would be nice.

LETTERMAN: Well, it looks very nice, and you look quite nice, but the people who last saw you on the Academy Awards, I
think, would mention that there is a striking difference.

CHER: Well, more clothes probably.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. You had a big like a headdress and kind of a -- now, what do you do? Do you buy all those clothes?

CHER: Well, I mean, that was specifically made by Bob for the Academy Awards, and I don't think --


CHER: Bob Mackey.

LETTERMAN: Bob Mackey, right.

CHER: And I probably won't ever wear that again.

LETTERMAN: So what did that set you back?

CHER: He did it for nothing because -- for two reasons. First of all, it's great publicity for him, and, secondly, I won't ever wear it, so it will probably go on tour or something like that.

LETTERMAN: You mean like to shopping malls and that kind of thing?

CHER: No, like the Metropolitan Museum. They had some of my clothes there at one time.

LETTERMAN: Now, when you -- do you buy any of your clothes?

CHER: Sure.

LETTERMAN: Now, what do you do? Do you keep them all? Do you give them away? Do you sell them? What becomes of them after you're done wearing them, I mean, when you grow tired of them?

CHER: Well, you know, those kind of clothes I don't usually keep, and a lot of times they are given to charity, because they can get a lot of money for them, you know, they go on auction and stuff like that.

LETTERMAN: And do you still have that enormous Egyptian kind of house in Los Angeles?

CHER: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: Do you really?

CHER: uh-huh.

LETTERMAN: And it's decorated like what?

CHER: Well, you know, it's just -- it's a very modern house, but it has -- it's like -- it's like a North African kind of house, like white-washed, like a Greek house, but it just has --

LETTERMAN: Sunny, airy, open?

CHER: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: And why does that --

CHER: I mean, it's not freaky, but that term kind of, you know, it's just -- it's a nice house.

LETTERMAN: Why African kind of? Why that motif?

CHER: Where are we going?

LETTERMAN: I'm gonna reach over here and grab something -- like the asshole I am.

CHER: Okay.

(Hoots and applause)

CHER: I'm afraid I've touched some sort of chord in there.

LETTERMAN: No, no. See, I've liked you for a long, long time. You and I -- by the way, happy birthday.

CHER: Thank you.

LETTERMAN: Oh, well, here we go.

CHER: No, no, no. Wait a minute. I never said I didn't like you.

LETTERMAN: Oh, yeah.

CHER: No, wait a minute.

LETTERMAN: No. I took that as complete flattery.

(Hoots and applause)

CHER: Wait a minute. I'm not finished. I just want to tell you something. I mean, I guess I could have come on still thinking that because, you know, I could act it out. It's what, ten minutes out of my life, 15 minutes out of my life.

LETTERMAN: That's right.

CHER: But I was a little bit more curious about it, so I thought I would just come on and see.

LETTERMAN: Well, I appreciate your second thoughts on the matter.

CHER: No, they're not second thoughts. They're not mutually exclusive, being interesting and being an asshole, but I think you're cute.


LETTERMAN: Now, you just had a birthday, and how old are you? Is it all right to talk about how old you are?

CHER: Sure.

LETTERMAN: You and I are just about the same age.

CHER: I'm probably older than you are.

LETTERMAN: I just turned 39.

CHER: I'm 40.


LETTERMAN: Was this all right for you? Any kind of psychological problems turning 40, emotional problems?

CHER: I wasn't crazy about it, you know, I would rather be turning 29 or 30.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, but you look better at 40 than most people are gonna look at 20, you know.

CHER: Yeah. That's like for a fat girl you don't sweat much.

LETTERMAN: No, no. So you're not crazy about being 40?

CHER: No. I'm not crazy about the alternative, but it's okay. It's like I know that lots of women are supposed to say, oh, they're really thrilled about it, but I don't think that very many are really.


CHER: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: You know, I find that the odd numbers -- this makes no sense at all.

CHER: That's okay.

LETTERMAN: Like the rest of this has. But the odd numbers bother me more than the even numbers, like 39 -- I was more comfortable at 38 and 36 than I was at 37 and 39, so I'm looking forward to 40.

CHER: But I think for men it doesn't make any difference.

LETTERMAN: You don't think so?


LETTERMAN: Yeah, Okay. Do you want to look at some of these photographs?

CHER: I don't really want to, but I see you have them, and I imagine that's what we have to do.

LETTERMAN: No, we don't have to look at those at all.

CHER: Well, what's the second one?

LETTERMAN: Oh, boy. Oh, boy.

CHER: Well, yeah, I guess that's okay. We could look at those. Those were a nice time.

LETTERMAN: Okay, well, there you go, because I wanted to know if you see -- are still in contact with Mr. Bono, and this
is taken at what point in your career?

CHER: This was, I think, probably some of the first pictures ever taken.

LETTERMAN: And how old were you there?

CHER: 16.

LETTERMAN: 16. That's unbelievable. What is Sonny doing now?

CHER: He has a restaurant in Palm Springs.

LETTERMAN: And also in LA or is that --

CHER: No. He sold that one.

LETTERMAN: And do you get along well with him to this day?

(Cher makes a sound of indifference)

LETTERMAN: Okay, and this is roughly again from the same age?

CHER: 21.

LETTERMAN: 21, all right.

CHER: Or 20. That was about 20.

LETTERMAN: Now, explain this picture to me. What was the purpose here?

(The picture is Sonny sitting in a chair and he has his hand on Cher's head and Cher is on the floor)

CHER: Oh, I would say this depicts Sonny and Cher life at home.

LETTERMAN: Well, it's a surprise this didn't work out then, isn't it? What do we do? Okay, we're gonna do a commercial,
and then we'll be right back with Cher.


LETTERMAN: So what are you up to? Movies? Plays? Music?

CHER: I'm going to do an album and I'm also gonna do two movies.

LETTERMAN: What are the films?

CHER: One of them is called "Suspect." The other is called "Fatal Beauty."

LETTERMAN: With whom, anybody we should know about?

CHER: Not right now.

LETTERMAN: Okay, and now why has it been five years since you did a record?

CHER: Well, because I wanted to be an actress, and it seemed like everyone said, "You can't do that because you're a singer," so I just stopped.

LETTERMAN: But you miss it?

CHER: Yeah. I like singing. I like music.

LETTERMAN: Do you work Las Vegas any more?


LETTERMAN: You made a huge sum of money there working every week in Las Vegas, didn't you?

CHER: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: But you also felt that that would inhibit your --

CHER: It did. People just didn't want to know about it.

LETTERMAN: But do you think you can go back to that at any point?

CHER: I don't know. I don't really know. I like what I'm doing a lot now. I like acting. I enjoy it, and you really have to like what you're doing.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. Well, you've certainly been able to do that. I mean, I think you've proven to a lot of people, and perhaps to yourself, that you can be taken seriously as an actress as well as a regular entertainer.

CHER: I was taken seriously as an actress and I don't -- I'm much better as an actress than whatever else I did before.

LETTERMAN: Well, me too.

CHER: Yeah.

(Letterman reads a note from Cher)

LETTERMAN: That's sweet. Thank you very much. So will you ever come back and see us again?

CHER: Yeah, I will.

LETTERMAN: All right. So we took a little bit off your hotel bill.

CHER: Yeah, just a tiny bit, but it was worth it. I had a good time and it will be fun to come back.

LETTERMAN: Well, you know, it was a lot of fun for me to meet you, because, like I said, I used to watch you when -- you
and I are the same age, and I used to watch your shows on CBS, and I thought this woman is very funny and certainly intelligent and attractive, and we were all very happy you were here tonight, and I hope you'll come back.

CHER: Thanks. I will.

(Hoots and applause)

LETTERMAN: Maybe I'll get a tattoo. That didn't seem like I was kissing up to you then, did it?


LETTERMAN: Okay, good, because I meant it, you know.

CHER: Okay.

LETTERMAN: But I always feel like a jerk saying that kind of thing, because people at home are used to seeing that kind of crap on TV.

CHER: But they're not used to seeing it from you.

(Letterman wipes the perspiration off his face with his tie)

LETTERMAN: Yeah, well, okay. Now, I know you have a bus to catch, so we have to do something, station identification, a
commercial, a commercial, it's a commercial, and then we'll be right back. That's all it is.

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