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|June 9th 1995|
|Larry King Interviewing David Letterman
NOTE: The first two minutes of this interview are unavailable, sorry for any inconvenience.
LETTERMAN: That's because nobody ever paid any attention to me at all, you know, we were on at 12:30, and we did okay.
We did pretty well at 12:30. You know, the audience gets smaller, not only smaller, but shorter, and they weigh less, and
nobody paid any attention, and then suddenly, I guess it was just this odd dynamic, NBC and myself, General Electric and
myself, Jay Leno and myself, and you had like an ongoing soap opera, and then you throw Michael Ovitz into the deal, and suddenly, whoomph.
KING: So you had like a snowball effect.
LETTERMAN: It's like throwing gasoline on a fire.
KING: But what's it like to be in the middle of the snowball?
LETTERMAN: It was interesting, but I tell you, the most interesting thing is when you come through that, like anything else,
and you have some perspective, and I can't pretend that it was objectivity, but having come through that, and then talking to Carter one night for three or four hours --
KING: Who wrote the book.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, silly book.
KING: You didn't like the book?
LETTERMAN: I haven't read the book, but by choice, I mean, by choice. I just felt like, I've been through it, I know it, and things that are inaccurate will only anger me, so what's the point? So anyway, having chatted, debriefing about that whole episode, it was fascinating to think, oh, my God, and then that happened, and then we had the offer from Mexican TV, and I came very close to --
KING: To going to Mexico?
LETTERMAN: Yeah, going to Guadalajara.
KING: In your heart would you have rather it had been "The Tonight Show" with David Letterman?
LETTERMAN: Not now, no, not now, but then -- you know, I don't possess great vision. At the time it seemed like it was
"The Tonight Show" or I was out of business. It really seemed like you either -- because I couldn't stay at 12:30. I had been there, Lord, for 12 years.
KING: But you knew they would all get in line for you, didn't you?
LETTERMAN: No, you don't that.
KING: You didn't know that?
LETTERMAN: No, no, you just don't know that, no, and I think they only did because of Michael Ovitz, because --
KING: In other words, you think he engineered this?
LETTERMAN: Oh, yeah, yeah, he put me in the marketplace and made it seem like, oh, we can't wait to get -- what is it?
Dave? Yeah, let's get that boy. I mean, nobody really knew. So it was him.
KING: Do you think you could therefore, based on that, manufacture a personality with networks and get them in a bidding
LETTERMAN: I'm not saying manufacture, I mean, you know, I have a personality. It's not that great, but I have my own personality. But I think that because of this dynamic, because of the politics of it, the strategy of it, the big guy, the little guy,
the one guy didn't get the job, the other guy did get it, I think that there was interest there, and then Ovitz all of a sudden -- and also, we had a lot of meetings. We went to Los Angeles once and had these meetings with these people, and I think what made the real difference is they would bring in plates of fresh fruit, and it was first rate produce, and I think that --
KING: That impressed you.
LETTERMAN: Not me, but I think that impressed every other bonehead that came in, you know.
KING: We'll be right back with David Letterman. He's our guest for the full hour. Tomorrow night, Clint Eastwood.
LETTERMAN: Full hour? Nobody said full hour.
KING: The full hour.
LETTERMAN: All right. Cancel the car.
KING: Don't go away.
KING: We are back with David Letterman. You like that logo there.
LETTERMAN: Very impressive, and also the 10th anniversary, that's nothing to be sneezed at, by the way.
KING: Thank you.
LETTERMAN: I mean, to survive and prevail and moreover to find your way to being a cultural fixture, that's a pretty nice accomplishment.
KING: What about -- by the way, I thought you stopped smoking.
LETTERMAN: Oh, I'm not smoking this. I'm holding it for a friend. Remember those days?
KING: There's smoke coming out of it and it's going into your mouth. Why are you doing this?
LETTERMAN: Just something to do, you know, something to do.That's all.
KING: Did you stop for a while?
LETTERMAN: I stopped for six or eight months, yeah.
LETTERMAN: And started again.
LETTERMAN: Why not?
KING: Why, why, why do it? Especially a hypochondriac why?
LETTERMAN: I missed it desperately. I missed everything about it. I like the feel. I like the smell. I like the taste. I like everything about it.
KING: So you said one day, what the hell?
LETTERMAN: Yeah, and then one day, what the hell, I'll quit again, and then I'll go back to it.
KING: Do you -- or how did you react to all that money? I mean, anyone thinks of making big money or huge money, but you make ultra money.
LETTERMAN: Oh, I do not. Stop it. Oh, I hurt your feelings. I'm sorry. Did I hurt your feelings?
KING: The reports are wrong?
LETTERMAN: It's your 10th anniversary. Forgive me. I hurt Larry's feelings.
KING: The reports are wrong? You make multi millions, right?
LETTERMAN: I'll never forgive myself.
KING: You make a lot of money.
LETTERMAN: I make a lot of money.
KING: What was it like to sign that?
LETTERMAN: I mean, I was happy. It was nice, but I've never been motivated by money in my entire life. I came from a background where, you know, we didn't have much money, but we didn't want much, you know, so it was never really a
factor, and I'm lucky that I make a comfortable living, and I can do nice things for my family, I can do nice things for my friends, and I can do nice things for people who don't have that kind of money, and that's the extent of it. It's not like, "Yahoo.
I got money now. It's gonna be babes, babes, babes."
KING: You didn't go running out in the street saying, "12 million dollars. Ovitz, you're a genius"?
LETTERMAN: No, no, no. Ovitz is a genius, but it ain't the 12 million.
KING: What's he like to have represent you?
LETTERMAN: It's great.
KING: I mean as a guy, what's he like, as a man?
LETTERMAN: I'm very fond of the man, very, very fond of the man. I want to tell you something, not that he needs me to
say nice things about him, but he has done things for me quietly, personal things, not big things, but significant things that
were important to me at the time for which I'll never be able to thank him or never forget.
LETTERMAN: I'm not going to share them with you.
KING: All right. The Trouble at CBS, today Leslie Moonves, m-o-o-n-v-e-s?
KING: Do you know him?
LETTERMAN: I have not met the man, no.
KING: What do you think of this move?
LETTERMAN: Well, I mean, I can't tell Mr. Tisch how to run his company, so if he wants to hire somebody, fine, that's fine.
We think that the guy has pretty good credentials, and we'll just get him in here, and I'm sure there will be a honeymoon
period, and then two or three months later it will be a daily fistfight.
KING: What went wrong? What happened to CBS?
LETTERMAN: Jeez, I don't know. I just don't know. I don't know, and I'm not in a position to speculate. I know things happened that are troubling. When NFL football went away, that was troubling. It was troubling to me because -- and I don't understand the intricacies of running a television network, I mean, you have the affiliates, you have the programming material, you have the news, you have on and on, personnel, thousands and thousands of people, I don't know, but when the NFL
football went away, that got my attention because it seemed like CBS and NFL, you knew that, you know, it had to go hand in hand, and it was also an excellent promotional vehicle for the rest of the week's lineup, so when that slipped away --
KING: Was that then to you a big danger sign?
LETTERMAN: To me it was, yeah, because that's very helpful to us in the rest of the week. You've got four or five hours on Sunday to run promotion for shows through the rest of the week, and then when that went, that was a loss for us as a promotional opportunity.
KING: How does CBS doing badly affect "The Late Show"?
LETTERMAN: It's not good for us. It's not good for us, because in the world of network television you try to build, and you have a good foundation, and then everything else benefits from the foundation that is laid.
KING: So it matters what someone is watching at 10:30; it affects you at 11:00?
LETTERMAN: I think it does, Yes, and then there is the overall perception, you know, well, nobody really wants to watch something that's not doing well, so I think that there is a -- it sets into motion a gradual erosion that eventually is problematic.
So I think it's been difficult for us.
KING: Does it hurt you to put it down?
LETTERMAN: To put it down and make jokes about it?
LETTERMAN: No, although you have to be kind of careful, because while I think that that's the kind of thing you need to
make fun of, you're well within your rights to make fun of it -- I mean, if I was at NBC, I'd be making fun of CBS. If I was
at ABC -- oh, man, I like the sound of that --
LETTERMAN: -- No -- I'd be making fun of CBS, so if you're here, you have to make fun of it, you know, but the only thing
we can concern ourselves with is our nightly show, and, you know, we still do a pretty good job.
KING: Of course you do, but does it lead to any kind of mental down? Do you say to yourself, "Jesus, look at this"?
You don't think you made a mistake?
LETTERMAN: No, no, clearly I didn't make a mistake. The last two years have been the best most successful years of my
life, and we went through horrible times at NBC. We got there right after Fred Silverman left, and I think Fred Silverman
knew what he was doing. He was pretty good. He had worked at every network. By the time he left NBC, their net profit for
his final year running that company, $18, honest to God, my hand to God, Larry, $18. They did not clear 20 bucks. So that's when we jumped in there, and so that was tough, and then when NBC was sold to GE, that was difficult, and then, you know, now NBC have really good people, and they have put themselves back together, and they are in great shape. So we've been through this before, and I believe in my heart it's just the vagaries of any business.
KING: On this very program two nights ago Mike Wallace asked Ted Turner to buy the network.
LETTERMAN: How'd that go?
KING: Ted would like to buy it. Would you like him to buy it?
LETTERMAN: I think it would be nice to have -- it seems to me that the present ownership and administration may be less interested in broadcasting than somebody who has spent most of their life working in broadcasting coming up through broadcasting. I think it would not be a terrible thing, but, again, it's up to Mr. Tisch how he wants to run the company, and,
you know, so far all of the checks have cleared.
KING: We'll be back on this 10th anniversary edition of Larry King Live.
KING: We are at the Ed Sullivan Theater. Our guest is David Letterman. His name's out front. What's that like to see your
name? That's gotta be a hoot.
LETTERMAN: The next time you mention my name, can you refer to me as one of the great showmen of the 20th century?
KING: Well, from that thing outside, you would think so. One of the great showmen of the 20th century in keeping with
George M. Cohan and the great tradition, David Letterman.
LETTERMAN: Whatever. Thank you.
KING: Are you going to host the Oscars again?
LETTERMAN: If they ask me, sure.
KING: Did you have fun?
LETTERMAN: I wouldn't say I had fun. It was endlessly interesting and entertaining.
KING: How did you react to the people who rapped?
LETTERMAN: That's part of it, you know, you screw something up, people are gonna get you.
KING: Did you think you screwed up?
LETTERMAN: Not at the time, and then later thinking about it, I think, yeah, I guess I screwed it up. I screwed it up so bad
they decided they would not have the awards again next column -- where they're gonna stop making movies altogether.
KING: I don't know how they're gonna make money. Do you have a favorite type of guest?
LETTERMAN: Yeah. This is going to sound like I'm kissing up to you, and believe me, I seize every opportunity I can to kiss
up to you, a guy like you. People who have stuff, have life experience, it doesn't make any difference what they do. You know, they always say, "Oh, we've got a dentist who uses his feet," and you think great. Well, it's not that. It's the person and then
the occupation second.
KING: The person always first.
LETTERMAN: Exactly. In fact, tonight on the show we had this woman from Idaho who won 90 million dollars in that lotto.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, and it was nice, because here is just exactly what you want. A normal person went in, bought a couple
of tickets. Two days later she finds out she's won 90 million dollars, very nice, very sweet, very happy, still trembling, just
sort of the vestiges of shock over this episode, and to me, you know, I'll take that all day all night.
KING: Right now I'd love to have on the next show Captain O'Grady coming back from --
LETTERMAN: I found out tonight he's gonna be on our show.
LETTERMAN: Sometime next week. You're getting upset now, aren't you, Larry?
KING: No, I'm not upset.
LETTERMAN: You want him on first, don't you?
KING: First, no. If he goes on you first, I know I'll get information, because you're just gonna kid.
LETTERMAN: How can you kid about that? The guy's blown out of the sky.
KING: You will kid.
LETTERMAN: I mean, it's a great story, and it's the kind of thing -- I mean, that part of the world, and then also Rwanda,
that part of the world for the last 18 months all we've heard has just been horrible human sludge and massive violations against humanity, and then you hear something wonderful about this, so that, you know, I think people -- I think that inspires people a little bit, you know, that lifts everybody. So I'm very pleased that he'll be here.
KING: Well, me too. You don't know the night though?
LETTERMAN: I don't know.
LETTERMAN: Do you have a subscription to TV guide? It will be in TV guide. When you go home, look in the TV guide.
KING: What do you do weekends? Where do you go?
LETTERMAN: I hide under the house.
KING: Nobody knows anything about you.
LETTERMAN: What's to know? What do we know about you?
KING: What do you do on the weekends?
LETTERMAN: What do you do on the weekends?
KING: Where do you go? I'm around though.
LETTERMAN: What's to know? What do you do on the weekends?
KING: I'm around though.
LETTERMAN: I'm around too.
KING: When you do your monologue and you say, "I was walking down Broadway today," that part cracks me up. You've
never walked down Broadway.
LETTERMAN: I know people who have walked down Broadway, and I can see it from my office.
KING: You don't go to parties. You shy away from parties.
LETTERMAN: I never went to parties, even when I was in school.
KING: I know, but why?
LETTERMAN: I don't know. I don't want to do that. I don't want to go to parties. I'm my own party, Larry.
KING: Do you like aloneness?
LETTERMAN: No, not necessarily. I'm very happy with the way my life is. I'm just not driven, drawn, motivated to go to parties. I'm in show business, you're in show business; let's go out and buy socks. That to me is --
KING: You're not a show buinessy guy even though you're a major mogul in the business.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, that's right. No.
KING: Well, that is strange. You love your business, right?
LETTERMAN: I've always thought of myself as somebody who was in broadcasting, not necessarily show business, and I'm more comfortable with that, and if those two overlap, and I guess they do, then, you know, for that --
KING: You consider yourself a broadcaster-entertainer, not an entertainer-broadcaster.
LETTERMAN: Yeah. I've had great fortune to work all my adult life in broadcasting, which is what I decided I wanted to do
one day in high school, and I think who among us can say that, that they have been able to do exactly what they wanted to do
all their life.
KING: That's fortunate, yeah. The thing with Leno, personal rivalry or just professional rivalry?
LETTERMAN: Just professional rivalry. It's like car companies, Ford and General Motors. You want to do better than the competition, and that's the extent of it.
KING: Is Carson the figurehead for everyone in this business to you?
LETTERMAN: I'm sorry. I didn't get the name.
LETTERMAN: I'm sorry. Well, of course, of course.
KING: I mean, he is the model figure?
LETTERMAN: Well, I've said it so many times. Here is a guy who was on the air, not only on the air, He succeeded, not only succeeded, prevailed, for how long? five years, ten years? 30 years. So, you know, those are pretty good numbers to shoot
KING: Do you want to do that, 30 years?
LETTERMAN: No, no, no. In fact, I think in a couple of weeks it will be the 15th anniversary of our first network show at
KING: The daytime.
LETTERMAN: The daytime show, and I think to myself, you know, you look at it and you think 15 years represents a pretty sizable chunk of your life, and then on the other hand, you put it up next to Carson, and it's only half.
KING: But you don't want to do -- You don't want the longevity?
LETTERMAN: No, I don't think so. I honestly don't think so. I would like to force myself to try and find something else that
was as much fun and as satisfying as broadcasting has been for me.
KING: Do you want a film career?
LETTERMAN: No, heavens no. Get ahold yourself. Take a sedative.
KING: Don't go away.
(Begin Video Clip)
LETTERMAN: Top Ten ways now Larry King is celebrating his 10th anniversary. Here we go.
No. 10: Leisurely stroll down beach in nothing but suspenders.
No. 9: Evening of wine and slow dancing with wolf blitzer.
No. 8: Tying all his suspenders end to end and slingshotting himself to Neptune.
No. 7: Getting really drunk and riding Janet Reno around town.
No. 6: Hiring dominatrix to tie him up in suspenders.
No. 5: A one-time gathering of all Mrs. King's called "wife-a-palooza."
No. 4: Having suspenders permanently tattooed on his chest.
No. 3: Quiet romantic dinner with Marlon. Oh, that will be good. I wonder --
No. 2: Pulling his suspenders so tight his head and his ass switch places.
And the no. 1 reason way Larry King is celebrating his 10th anniversary: New co-host, Connie Chung. There you go.
(End Video Clip)
KING: That was hysterical. Why are you in pain watching yourself?
LETTERMAN: Well, first of all, when I asked you if you had seen that and you said --
KING: I said no, I had not, and they said, "Do you want to see it?" And I said, "No, I'd like to be surprised."
LETTERMAN: Well, maybe there would be something you would find upsetting.
KING: No, I know, but you look at yourself painfully. Finish, already, Dave, finish.
LETTERMAN: Well, I'm the homeliest man on television.
KING: You don't like the way you look?
KING: You think you're funny?
LETTERMAN: Occasionally, occasionally.
KING: Top Ten lists a great idea?
LETTERMAN: I tell ya, it's one of those wonderful ideas. We have been blessed over the years by finding -- writers have
found for us ideas that have kind of a universality, and that's one of them. The trick to it, of course, is making it funny every night, and, you know, some nights they're not funny, and some nights they are the strongest part of the show, but it's tough,
but, you know, we're very lucky with that, and like we do Stupid Pet Tricks. When I'm dead people will be doing that on the moon, and that was another great idea.
KING: Before we take calls, Connie Chung. That's the question.
LETTERMAN: Well, I understand. I feel badly, because I understand Connie is upset with me because of --
LETTERMAN: Because I think we joked about her departure from CBS, and I feel badly about it if she's upset with us.
KING: Do you want to apologize to her?
LETTERMAN: I'm terribly sorry, Connie, but what we tried to do, we sort of -- you had to pick a side, and you're always
better off painting the corporation as the villain, so we kind of tried to take her side in it.
KING: So why would she be mad?
LETTERMAN: Well, I don't know. She could be mad at me for any one of a number of reasons.
KING: Wait a minute. Maybe you're a little nuts here.
LETTERMAN: No, no, no. I'll grant you that.
KING: Why would she be mad at you if you took her side?
LETTERMAN: I think probably that a person in that position might fall prey more readily to insult than under normal circumstances.
KING: You have Rather on next week, do you not?
LETTERMAN: Yeah. I like Dan Rather. Now, you talk about a guy who is a good guest. Tom Brokaw always good, you're always good, Dan Rather, and it's interesting. Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw, I think a lot people think it's the same guy, they
do the same thing for a living, you know what I mean, they could be the same guy, but they are two completely different men and both great in their own respective ways and equally entertaining in different ways. Dan Rather is completely different as a guest than Tom Brokaw, but they are always first rate.
KING: Connie Chung you like.
LETTERMAN: I've always loved Connie Chung, and she married that -- she was married for a time to that Vince Mc Mahon.
Is that who she's married to, That wrestling guy?
KING: The wrestling guy.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, I think she's still married to him.
KING: He still promotes.
KING: Let's go to calls. Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
LETTERMAN: Quebec, I think it's Quebec.
CALLER: Hi. My question is, is that really your mom that was on the Olympic games?
LETTERMAN: Yes, it was, and it still is and has been all my life.
KING: Why did a lot of people think that was a bit?
LETTERMAN: Because I've joked about it from time to time, calling her an actress.
KING: Were you surprised at what she became?
LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah, very surprised, because the way that came about -- how are things in Quebec, by the way?
KING: Are you still there, ma'am? Gone. Go ahead.
LETTERMAN: Adios. As they say in Quebec, adios. Yeah, we were very surprised, because CBS came to us and said,
"Look, we got the Olympics, anything you want to do," and we thought, Oh, great, now all we've got to do is come up with
an idea, and I'm telling you, Larry, it's hard to come up with ideas.
KING: Every night.
LETTERMAN: It's hard.
KING: So you said, "My mother, I'll send my mother." Is that what you said?
LETTERMAN: Yes, more or less, and we were very surprised, and to this day I'm not exactly sure why everybody took to
that so nicely, but it -- the best of it is after years and years and years of disappointment from me by me, this was something really nice that I could do for her, and she had a great time.
KING: So you made it up to your mom?
LETTERMAN: I don't know that I made it up to her but it was still --
KING: Is she now a regular? You send her other places?
LETTERMAN: Yeah. We've had her -- she went with us to London.
KING: Where next?
LETTERMAN: I don't know. It depends on where we go, but you have to be careful, because we got away clean with the Olympics, and you want to have that as a nice positive memory and moment for your mom, so if you run it into the ground,
as we are prone to do with everything -- you get a good idea and then you beat it to death, that's our motto -- but it turned out nicely for her.
KING: Seattle, Washington, for David Letterman. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. Hi, Larry. Dave --
LETTERMAN: Yes, ma'am.
CALLER: -- Contrary to what you were saying before, I am wondering if you are aware that as kind of a cultural phenomenon you are the thinking woman's sex symbol.
LETTERMAN: Well, here, now at long last we're getting someplace.
KING: Do you have a question?
CALLER: That was it. Is he aware of that fact?
KING: Are you aware that you are the thinking woman's sex symbol and are you comfortable with the fact that you are?
LETTERMAN: Well, no. It's a moment of flattery that will get me through the weekend.
KING: Maybe till Tuesday.
LETTERMAN: And I certainly appreciate the sentiment, but it's nothing I could have conjured on my own, and I do a great
deal of self-conjuring, if you know what I mean, ma'am.
KING: Let's go to Gross Pointe, Michigan, for David Letterman. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Regis. I just wondered, Dave, what you think you'll be doing about 15 years from now.
LETTERMAN: 15 years from now I don't know.
KING: You will be how old?
LETTERMAN: 15. You do the math. I'm 48 now, so 10 would be 58 and --
LETTERMAN: About 63, ma'am.
KING: What will you be doing?
LETTERMAN: I have no idea. I hope I'm still alive. I hope I'm still getting around okay. I will not be doing this when I'm 63, clearly.
KING: Clearly not?
KING: Is it true that after every show you go in and watch the whole show and get very self-critical?
LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah. Not after every show, just the ones that I screw up.
KING: Which are how many out of five?
LETTERMAN: I'd say four out of five. I ought to be on the bench, just between you and me.
KING: Why is it so cold in here? I'm freezing. Why do you do this?
LETTERMAN: Because, if you had spent any time in broadcasting, Larry --
KING: I like it cool, but this is cold.
LETTERMAN: We have -- look around you. You see electrical equipment. You plug in your toaster. You plug in your TV.
You plug in whatever devices you have at your house -- got knows what that might be -- and it heats up, and then you get
500 people off the streets of New York, that heats up, and before you know it, what starts out to be about 15, 20 degrees,
which is what it is now, suddenly you're up around 80 or 90 and people are nodding off.
KING: Now, of course, there is no one in the audience, and it stays at 15.
LETTERMAN: Well, I like to see you squirm a little bit.
KING: The entire crew is wearing leather jackets, and it's summer. We'll be right back with David Letterman more of your
phone calls. Don't go away.
LETTERMAN: Larry thinks it's getting colder.
KING: It is getting colder.
LETTERMAN: You're going to start to hallucinate.
KING: Maybe I'm warped.
LETTERMAN: Larry, it's fine. I like it.
KING: This is really comfortable to you?
LETTERMAN: I couldn't be more comfortable.
KING: You know why? Because there is nothing blowing directly on your head. Something is blowing right on my head.
LETTERMAN: Well, who picked the chairs? You picked the seat locations. You put out the placecards.
KING: Do you have one of your Late Show jackets?
LETTERMAN: Yeah, we'll get you one. We have a lovely line of merchandise, by the way.
KING: How much is it?
LETTERMAN: I think we mostly give it away.
KING: You don't get a cut?
LETTERMAN: I didn't say that.
KING: You know, personal items get dragged out everywhere, and except for some woman bothering you all the time, we
never hear about you.
KING: Why not?
LETTERMAN: There's nothing to say. What do you want to know?
KING: Do you have girl friends?
KING: A lot of them? Many of them?
LETTERMAN: No. One.
KING: What is her name?
LETTERMAN: I'm not telling you. The last time I mentioned her name, people drove by her parents' house and bothered
them, so I'm just not gonna do it. Let's say it's Debbie.
KING: Okay, Debbie. Are you gonna marry Debbie?
LETTERMAN: Oh, one day, sure.
KING: Oh, you are?
LETTERMAN: If Debbie hangs around long enough.
KING: Do you want to raise a family?
LETTERMAN: Oh, I'd like to have a family. I've always wanted to have a family.
KING: Well, at age 48, don't you think you ought to start getting with it?
LETTERMAN: You know, it's interesting. I agree. Clearly, I agree. David Brenner was on the show the other night. I think
the world of David Brenner, but you and I both know he's twice my age.
LETTERMAN: Not almost. He is. He's twice my age.
KING: He's 94.
KING: Okay, you say 96.
LETTERMAN: And he just had the most beautiful little baby boy about six weeks ago, and he was showing pictures of the kid.
KING: Wouldn't you love that?
LETTERMAN: Yeah, sure. No, I think he should have another one.
KING: No. You.
LETTERMAN: Oh, oh. No, I would love it.
KING: You don't want to be a 75-year-old dad, do you?
LETTERMAN: No, of course not. Jeez.
KING: So marry Debbie and have a kid.
LETTERMAN: By the way, this now is how every weekend of my life goes, Just exactly. Why don't you ride home in the car with me?
KING: I don't like speeding.
LETTERMAN: Hey, hey.
KING: Let's go back to the calls. Berlin, Germany, for David Letterman.
LETTERMAN: Oh, it's not Berlin, Germany. Come on.
CALLER: Sure. Hey, hi. Sure it's Berlin. Hello.
CALLER: I always see your show. Hi, Larry. Hi, Dave. Hi, Dave. I always see your show every night. I stay up every night to see your show.
LETTERMAN: Thank you.
CALLER: And I have a question for you.
CALLER: I saw your shows which came from London.
LETTERMAN: Yes, sir.
CALLER: Why don't you come to Berlin, have a show in Berlin?
LETTERMAN: Well, that's certainly an interesting idea.
KING: How are you seen in Berlin? Does NBC put you up on a bird?
LETTERMAN: I think it's probably CBS puts us up somewhere.
KING: I'm sorry.
LETTERMAN: I think NBC has very little to do with us these days.
KING: I didn't know CBS had a bird.
LETTERMAN: I don't know, honestly. I think maybe Sky TV out of London. I don't know. No, actually we have an outlet in Germany.
KING: You're big in Germany?
LETTERMAN: I don't know that we're big. We apparently are seen there.
KING: Would you like to do a show from Berlin?
LETTERMAN: I would love to go to Berlin. I've never been to Berlin. I've only been to Germany a couple of times, and I think
it would be endlessly fascinating to be in Berlin and just to see, I mean, heavens, generation and generation and generation of interesting global history there.
KING: Do you like traveling the show?
LETTERMAN: Yeah. It's always a great experience, because when we travel the show, we take everybody, because we try
and make it mean something to the people who have worked so hard here every day, so it's not like we just take two or three people. We take everybody. Every name that you see on the crawl and many names you don't see, everybody goes with us,
so for me, whether they understand it or not, I take some satisfaction in being able to do that. For example, even going to London, I found out that many of the People who went with us had never been to London before and had a wonderful time,
so that's greatly satisfying for me.
KING: Grand Rapids, Michigan. Hello.
CALLER: Dave, we love you in Grand Rapids.
LETTERMAN: Thank you very much.
CALLER: We were wondering how you came up with Worldwide Pants, and we heard a rumor in Grand Rapids that the home office may be moving from Sioux City, Iowa, to Grand Rapids. Could you speak to that?
LETTERMAN: Well, now, what would that mean to you if we could make that change?
CALLER: Oh, Grand Rapids is an all-American city. It certainly would be an improvement for the home office.
KING: Would you have a parade for them?
CALLER: Absolutely. I'm sure we could arrange that.
LETTERMAN: Is that like the home of the Gerald Ford library?
CALLER: Absolutely, the museum. We have President Bush here today too.
LETTERMAN: What's President Bush doing there?
KING: What's he doing there?
CALLER: He's here for an Amway convention.
KING: Amway convention, Amway, the home products.
LETTERMAN: Does it seem right to you that a former president is selling soap? Does that seem about right to you?
KING: We have to take a quick break. How did you come up with Worldwide Pants?
LETTERMAN: I wish I had a good answer for that. We'll move it, sir. It's done.
KING: Done starting Monday.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, Grand Rapids.
KING: What are they gonna say in Sioux City?
LETTERMAN: They don't care. They weren't that happy to have us anyway.
KING: Okay, Grand Rapids, Letterman comes to you on Monday. You too, Debbie.
KING: Welcome back to the Ed Sullivan igloo.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah. Larry is losing the feeling in his extremities.
KING: That's right. It's starting to -- you get frostbite to do Letterman.
LETTERMAN: Buck up, buddy.
KING: Stourbridge, England. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. It's Stourbridge, England. We would like to ask Dave, who was the most disappointing celebrity on the
LETTERMAN: Other than present company, you mean?
CALLER: Bearing in mind how articulate and how intelligent you are.
LETTERMAN: Oh, please.
KING: Who disappointed you? Madonna?
LETTERMAN: No, no. It surprised me, certainly, she did surprise me, but it didn't really disappoint me. Unfortunately, I
think the disappointments are more my responsibility, because anybody who accepts an invitation to be on the show is going
to give their best effort, you assume, you think, you believe, of course, and so I think that if things don't go well, it's usually
my fault, because you ought to be able to talk to almost anybody for eight minutes and get something out of it, and if it doesn't gel, I think it's my responsibility, my fault.
KING: Who do you want to get that you haven't gotten?
LETTERMAN: The same list that everybody's after. We've been trying to kiss up to the Clinton Administration since they took office.
KING: You had Gore.
LETTERMAN: Yeah. He was great, you know.
LETTERMAN: That was very nice, and Bob Dole also was on -- I forgot when it was -- and he was great, too.
KING: I put in a word for you.
LETTERMAN: I appreciate that.
KING: I think you're gonna get him.
LETTERMAN: I appreciate it. It would be nice, because I think they come here maybe with some trepidation, and people are
so excited and so interested to see one of these policy makers, people who potentially can influence the lives of the folks who
are in these seats, and when they are in here, I think there is automatically an electricity that you may not get normally, and I think some of these people, some of these men and women could do themselves a lot of good by more exposure on venues
like this, and certainly they have had great success.
KING: So you think people like Newt Gingrich should come?
LETTERMAN: Oh, yeah. We have offers to him. You know, they are interesting.
KING: I think they are worried that you are going to put them down or something, that this is a comedy show.
LETTERMAN: But also, if they have been the victim or butt of some of our jokes and comedy, it's a great way to defuse
LETTERMAN: -- and neutralize it and get people on their side, at least for that moment, and we have been so hard on Ted Kennedy over the years, just unmerciful. If we are short of a joke, we toss in a Ted Kennedy joke, because it works, it's
knee-jerk, it's reflex.
KING: If he came, he would defuse that.
LETTERMAN: I think so. It's wildly unfair on our part, but, you know, we're in here every night fighting for our lives, so you need a big laugh. "Oh, Ted Kennedy had a couple of beers."
KING: August is two years.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, that's right.
KING: How long are you signed for?
LETTERMAN: I have no idea. I honestly --
KING: Oh, come on.
LETTERMAN: About once or twice a week, I make that call, "How much longer do I have to do this?"
KING: You must have some memory of how long the contract is.
LETTERMAN: You'd think, wouldn't you?
KING: You'd think, yeah.
LETTERMAN: I don't know. I've heard anywhere from three to six years.
KING: You mean you could be saying good-bye a year from August or be here through the end of the decade.
LETTERMAN: I'm not going anywhere. I'm not saying good-bye at all. We've got a lot more stuff to do.
KING: You mentioned ABC with a great deal of enthusiasm earlier.
LETTERMAN: Well, just --
KING: Would you like to bounce Nightline and have them follow you?
KING: Straight out Yes?
LETTERMAN: No. Ted Koppel and I have kind of a friendly relationship, and I just think the world of him, and I think commercial broadcasting is lucky to have a show and a format on a nightly basis like that with a man like Ted Koppel.
KING: So you don't regard him as a rival?
LETTERMAN: No, not at all, no. I mean, he deserves to be on the air, that show deserves to be on the air, and they deserve everybody that watches them.
KING: All good shows deserve to be on.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, but, I mean, he is just exemplary.
KING: Are you the kind of person who looks at the ratings every day?
LETTERMAN: That's the business we're in, sure.
KING: And do you measure? Do you say, "oh, we got a six and therefore this guest must have been good. We'll have her
back," or, "We got a four, this guest was bad"?
LETTERMAN: Well, as you know, in broadcasting the questions are infinite, and there's only a handful of answers.
KING: That's right.
LETTERMAN: And so it's the perfect way to torture yourself, you know. Was it the color of the suit? Was it the way my hair looked? Was it the guest? Was it the temperature in the studio? It's never the temperature in the studio.
LETTERMAN: That always gets great ratings.
KING: David, I can't thank you enough for a wonderful hour.
LETTERMAN: Larry, thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here, and I hope in some way I've been able to help you celebrate ten years.
KING: You have.
LETTERMAN: It's a nice accomplishment. Thank you very much.
KING: My pleasure.
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