David Letterman Interviewing David Hyde Pierce

LETTERMAN: Welcome to the program, David Hyde Pierce. David!

(Paul and the band play music)
(David comes out, shakes Dave’s hand then sits down)

Thank you very much for coming back. You were supposed to be with us last night --


LETTERMAN: And I'm very, very, very sorry, we ran out of time.

PIERCE: Got bumped.

LETTERMAN: Yes, you did. You got bumped.


LETTERMAN: In the vernacular of the venue and I'm sorry.

PIERCE: That's all right.

LETTERMAN: Thank you for coming back.

PIERCE: That's all right. I don't know -- I'm sure everyone was watching last night, but Howard Stern was the --

LETTERMAN: He's a shock jock.

(Audience applauds)

PIERCE: He was -- shock jock which I always thought was sort of a locker room thing but I guess it's a...

(Pierce clears throat)
(Letterman laughs)

LETTERMAN: Hooking something up to a battery --

PIERCE: That's right, exactly.

LETTERMAN: Is that what you're suggesting?

(Letterman laughs)

PIERCE: But uh, he was -- Howard was the first guest and he unaccountably talked a lot.

(Audience laughs)


PIERCE: And uh --

LETTERMAN: Hard to predict with Howard.

(Audience laughs)

PIERCE: I know, I know. Who knew? Who knew? But actually, I should have known.

LETTERMAN: You had a sense maybe?

PIERCE: I had a sense, yes. There were two warning signs...


PIERCE: ...that I might get bumped. The first one was when I arrived at the theatre; there was a huge crowd of autograph seekers outside.

LETTERMAN: Right, that must have made you feel good.

PIERCE: Made me feel very good.


PIERCE: And they all had copies of Howard's book --


(Dave laughs)

PIERCE: -- to sign. And when I got out of the limousine --


PIERCE: -- as one person they all said, "Oh, it's um..." and I went inside --

(Dave and the audience laugh)

PIERCE: But now see and the second warning --


PIERCE:  -- which I realized, cause I was watching the interview from my dressing room all made up and...

LETTERMAN: It was fascinating, wasn't it?

(Audience laughs)

PIERCE: It was just -- it was incredible, but what I noticed, cause there's a lot of talk about the physical resemblance between Kelsey and me.

LETTERMAN: Uh huh. Sure.

PIERCE: It's one of the ways I got on the show. Howard Stern and I could be twins

(Audience laughs)

and it's not just the obvious physical resemblance, it's an inner thing.

LETTERMAN: (Laughing) That's true.

PIERCE: Who wants to see a show of all the same thing?

LETTERMAN: (Laughing) Yes, that's right. Too much of a good thing would tire anyone.

PIERCE: Exactly.

LETTERMAN: Well, here... here exactly is why you got bumped. Roll it, Howard. We had no control over this last night.

(Begin clip)
(Howard is dancing with a stripper)
(End clip)

LETTERMAN: And he just kept doing that and alright -- that's... OK. Made us all sick. Um –

(Audience laughs)

Now --

PIERCE: At least it was for a good cause, I feel better now that I was bumped for that.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. Tell us about your show "Frasier." You -- are you new to the show? Were you there from the beginning?
PIERCE: I am new to the show, but the show is also new so we all sort of started together.

(Audience laughs and applauds)


PIERCE: It -- it sort of has taken off.


PIERCE: And it's a big, oh you know, a success.

LETTERMAN: Did you know... this is a question they always ask people on talk shows, but did you know at the time that it was going to be like a big monster hit? Did you have any kind of feeling?

PIERCE: No, no. They gave us a good time slot, right after "Seinfeld."

LETTERMAN: Oh, there you go.

PIERCE: But if we were lousy, then we would have, you know, been gone in a second so we didn't know. And it's really only recently that I started to see... I was just in Cape Cod this past week for my –

(Audience applauds)

Wait, wait, for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.

(Audience applauds)

LETTERMAN: There we go. Right there.


(Audience applauds)

LETTERMAN: 50th anniversary.

PIERCE: (Laughing) Thank you. Um -- oh, but I discovered that every single waitress in Cape Cod watches "Frasier".

LETTERMAN: There you go. That must be very satisfying.

PIERCE: And, yeah. And every other shop keeper.

LETTERMAN: Every other?

PIERCE: Every other, yes. You go into a shop and there would be two people behind the counter and one would say, "Oh, it's Frasier's brother" and the other would say, "Who's Frasier?"

LETTERMAN: Yeah. Some of those people outside the theatre who said, "It's um..."

PIERCE: That's right, that's right. From Cape Cod, probably.

LETTERMAN: And you're nominated for an Emmy Award so that must make you feel very, very good.

(Audience applauds)

I tell you what, we need to do a commercial and we'll continue chatting here with David Hyde Pierce, ladies and gentlemen. Come on back to the show.

(Audience applauds)
(Return from commercials with Paul and the band playing music)

LETTERMAN: Nice to see you, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back to the big blockbuster program. David Hyde Pierce is here. Now, during the commercial I mentioned another actor by the name of Wilford Hyde White, I believe is his name.


LETTERMAN: And is there any significance the middle name is the same in both cases?


LETTERMAN: Is there any story about the name? Is it a family name?

PIERCE: It is a family name. I used to be David Pierce and when I joined the Screen Actors Guild, there was -- the real David Pierce was already in the Screen Actors Guild.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: What the hell is he doing though?

PIERCE: Well, it's funny you should ask. He -- when "Frasier" was just starting up, I met his wife. David Pierce's wife came to the set. We weren't on the air yet. And I said, "Oh, that's so funny because of your husband's name, I had to change mine." She said, "Oh, that's too bad because he's not really working anymore."


PIERCE: So I wrote a letter to the Screen Actors Guild and I said ‘Look, I was always known on the stage in New York as David Pierce. Frasier's about to go on. It may be successful, it may not, I don't know. My last chance, can I get my name back?'


(Dave laughs)

PIERCE: And they wrote me a letter saying ‘First of all, no because the real David Pierce had not been not acting long enough. And secondly, they thought David Hyde Pierce was a much better name for me.'

LETTERMAN: Well, there you go.

PIERCE: So, I'm, you know, gonna have them come over to my house and pick out curtains.

LETTERMAN: Now, I'm curious about this guy's wife. She showed up at the set thinking you might be her husband?

(Audience laughs)

PIERCE: That's another story.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Speaking of stories, tell me a little bit if you can about -- you were in the motion picture "Wolf."


LETTERMAN: With Jack Nicholson.


(Audience applauds)

LETTERMAN: Was this your first movie?


LETTERMAN: You've done other films?

PIERCE: I had, but all small parts.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. Was this a great thrill for you, meeting and working with Jack?

PIERCE: It, yes, it was scary. He's, you know, kind of an intimidating -- actually, he's a very nice guy, but I was intimidated by him.

LETTERMAN: How could you not be intimidated?

PIERCE: Well, yeah.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, I would think so.

PIERCE: He's Jack Nicholson. I mean, I had worked with famous people before, but no one like him.

LETTERMAN: No one famous and dangerous.

PIERCE: Exactly.

(Dave laughs)

PIERCE: With the golf clubs.

LETTERMAN: (Laughing) Yeah.

PIERCE: And we -- our first day of shooting, when we wrapped, we were shooting in the Bradbury Building which is this big office building, kind of a turn of the century thing.

LETTERMAN: It's the one with the steel staircases...

PIERCE: Oh, yeah.

LETTERMAN: And the very ornate iron and so forth.

PIERCE: Gorgeous, gorgeous building. You knew that.

LETTERMAN: It's in Downtown Los Angeles.

PIERCE: Exactly. It's like a New York style building in Los Angeles.

LETTERMAN: Famous buildings for 40, Alex.

PIERCE: (Laughing) Um... so we finished shooting at the same time and we were leaving at the same time. And it was my first day and we were walking down the staircase together but separately.


PIERCE: And I thought ‘OK, I'm not going to speak to him because he's Jack --

(Dave laughs)

PIERCE: -- and first of all, I don't want him to think that, you know, he's obliged to talk to me. And also, the man, you know, lived with Angelica Huston, there's nothing I can tell him.

LETTERMAN: (Laughing) I'm not sure what that means, but I'll take your word for it.

PIERCE: I don't know either but it came to mind so I said it. So we're walking down the stairs and he started talking to me about working on the movie and how he was preparing the role. And we're going down the staircase and he's talking to me about the wolf howl and how he studied actual wolves howling and worked on that and these little bits of wolf business he was inserting in the film. And we're walking down the stairs and I'm basically in actor heaven because Jack Nicholson is talking shop with me, is essentially what it is. And we're sort of picking up momentum as we go down the stairs because he's all jazzed about talking this and I'm all excited about hearing about it. And so by the time we get down the stairs and we hit the main floor, we're really moving.

(Dave laughs)

PIERCE: And we sort of streaked through the lobby and he's going on and we breezed through the double doors and I say ‘Well, you know, that's interesting because...' and his door opens and mine doesn't.

LETTERMAN: (Laughing) Bingo.

PIERCE: And he was gone out into the street and he was actually in his trailer and it was over so --

LETTERMAN: The next thing you know, you're the road runner.

PIERCE: Exactly.


(Audience laughs)

Great luck to you with the Emmys. I hope you win.

PIERCE: Thank you.

LETTERMAN: You're in a pretty tough category, aren't you?

PIERCE: There is no way I will win, but you know.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Well, it's -- it's nice to be recognized.

PIERCE: That's right, that's right.

LETTERMAN: And congratulations and continued success with the big show.

PIERCE: Thank you.

LETTERMAN: Nice meeting you, David.

PIERCE: Thank you.

LETTERMAN: Thank you for being here. David Hyde Pierce! We'll be right back, kids!

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David Hyde Pierce
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August 9th 1994
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