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|May 22nd 1996|
|Larry King Interviewing David Letterman
ANNOUNCER: From New York, we've named a pigeon after you. It's the Late Show with David Letterman.
KING: Wait a minute. It's not that late, but we do have the star of the Late Show. Yes, David Letterman is ahead on Larry
ANNOUNCER: Now live from New York, here's Larry King.
KING: He's here, folks.
LETTERMAN: One of those legendary Larry King fits. You get to see it here live.
KING: I don't get fits. Okay, this is our Superweek. We had the 60 Minutes crew last night, Hillary Clinton on Monday night, Friday night Barbara Walters, Saturday night Reverend Graham.
LETTERMAN: How do I fit into Superweek exactly?
KING: You are a Superstar.
LETTERMAN: God bless you, Larry.
KING: We have declared you a Superstar.
LETTERMAN: Thank you. I appreciate that.
KING: And you are the most --
LETTERMAN: It's a good thing we're not under oath here right now.
KING: You are the most --
LETTERMAN: I am. I happen to be the most powerful man in American broadcasting.
KING: And you deserve it.
LETTERMAN: Thank you very much, Larry.
KING: The accolades that come your way.
LETTERMAN: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Now I'm ticked.
LETTERMAN: What's the matter?
KING: Okay, the last time you were on this show, a caller called in, a nice caller, and he said, "I live in Grand Rapids,
Michigan, and we'd love to have you make the home base Grand Rapids, Michigan."
KING: And you said, "Done."
LETTERMAN: That's right. I remember that. Absolutely.
KING: That night you made it Grand Rapids.
LETTERMAN: That's right.
KING: Why have you deserted Grand Rapids, for what, Wahoo?
LETTERMAN: Wahoo, Nebraska, Wahoo. The whole thing started innocently enough, or so we thought, because I'm the kind
of guy -- you know, a lot of people in this day and age, 1996, the middle of May -- we're looking at a long hot summer
here -- a lot of people in this country now are the kind of people that just say "Wa," you know what I mean, Larry? I can tell
by looking at you, you're a guy that just all you can really cough up on a good night is "Wa," unless you're talking about something of great interest, like dinner plans after the show.
KING: You're bugged by that, aren't you?
LETTERMAN: Well, I just found it interesting.
KING: I was thinking beyond the show. It bothered you.
LETTERMAN: Just before we went on the air we saw Larry throw a huge temper tantrum.
KING: I did not.
LETTERMAN: Knocking over lights and monitors and screaming at interns and stormed off to the limo. I had to go down personally and coax him out of the car to get him back here.
KING: All right. "Wa."
LETTERMAN: Yeah. A lot of people just say "Wa." To me, you know, they don't care. If you're just saying "Wa," you don't really care. I'm the kind of guy that says, "Wahoo, Wahoo." You know what I'm driving at?
KING: Wahoo. This is a reason to --
LETTERMAN: So when I started saying this on the air -- now follow me on this if you can. Go ahead. Feel free to make
notes. We started getting calls from Wahoo, Nebraska. I guess I had heard of Wahoo in the past, but was not familiar with it,
and they said, "Dave, what are you talking about? We are Wahoo. We are the Wahoo city. Please move the home office."
And we did. We opened it up to a contest of graft. Send in whatever you want from Grand Rapids if you want the home
office there, send in whatever you want from Wahoo if you want the home office there, and it turned out that we ended up
going to Wahoo for no particular reason, other than that we had been in Grand Rapids for over a year, and now we are in
Wahoo and we couldn't be -- we get a tax break and we get better parking in Wahoo. So that's where we are now.
KING: Are the citizens nice to you?
LETTERMAN: Oh, yeah, yeah. We are treated like royalty in Wahoo, absolutely.
KING: Did Grand Rapids --
LETTERMAN: I'm looking at buying vacation property there, you know, like Ted Turner's got that four million acre ranch in Montana.
KING: And New Mexico.
LETTERMAN: I've kind of got my eye on something like -- oh, in New Mexico; is that right?
KING: Yeah, like two of them.
LETTERMAN: So like one entire state is not enough room for he and Jane? They've got to buy up the entire western half of
KING: Now, wait a minute. You make -- you're in that league now.
LETTERMAN: Oh, please.
KING: Come on. What's it like?
LETTERMAN: Please, please, Larry.
KING: What's it like to have all the money you ever dreamed of and beyond?
LETTERMAN: Well, first of all, as I've said many, many times, I've never been motivated by money, and I get the sense --
KING: No one is. I'm not.
LETTERMAN: Well, no, I think some people are. I think some people are driven by money. It just doesn't happen to be true in my case.
KING: It's a byproduct.
LETTERMAN: But it's a lovely thing to have, and you see figures written in newspapers, "How much does Dave make?"
It's not necessarily true.
KING: You don't make 14 million?
LETTERMAN: I make a comfortable living, but I'll tell you now the best part about making that kind of money, and I've
learned this for a long, long time now. I've known this for a long, long time. It enables you to do things for others that maybe heretofore you might not have been in a position to do, and that's the absolute best. Other than that, it's just something silly to
see in the newspaper.
KING: You can do something for your mother, someone you like.
LETTERMAN: Oh, Mom. Oh, brother, Mom.
KING: You support her, don't you, Dave? You take care of her?
LETTERMAN: Mom's got this cookbook out, you know, and I hope it sells. I don't know if it's selling any, but, you know, if
it doesn't sell, she's already making noise about moving in with me, you know what I mean? So you can do me a big favor and
go out and buy the book.
KING: Hillary was here the other night.
LETTERMAN: Hillary Rodham Clinton, America's first lady.
KING: That's right.
KING: And told us that she loved your mother, she was interviewed by your mother, and she will do your show, but after the election.
LETTERMAN: Well, that's very sweet of her to say. I think it's probably a load of crap, but it's very sweet for her to have
said that. We would love to have Hillary on the show. We would love to have her husband Tubby on the show.
KING: I've tried for you.
LETTERMAN: I'll tell you why it would be good for these people, and Ted Kennedy too. You and I have covered this. In the
past we have made a great deal of jokes about Ted Kennedy for no particular reason, for no particular reason, other than they seem to get laughs, people think, oh, they're making fun of Ted Kennedy. Ha-ha, ha-ha, Wahoo. And we do the same with President Clinton. President Clinton is what, like eight pounds overweight? He's like six-four and he weighs 208. He's eight pounds overweight. We pretend that he weighs 360. We're just exaggerating and making jokes.
KING: It's a joke.
LETTERMAN: Exactly. The best thing these people could do, Hillary and Ted Kennedy and her husband, Bill Clinton, the President, should come on our show. In fact, they should all come on together, you know what I mean? And just say, "All
right, stop making the jokes." We would humanize everything. We would quit making the jokes and everybody would be
KING: How would you handle it? Ted, Hillary and Bill, they all sit down together. They want to come on as a tandem.
LETTERMAN: Yeah. I would start by saying, "Bill, can I get you a pizza?" No, that would be a mistake.
KING: You wouldn't. You wouldn't know what to do.
LETTERMAN: No, of course. I'd be scared silly. I'd be frightened.
KING: But you're a host.
KING: And the most important man in American broadcasting.
LETTERMAN: Most powerful.
LETTERMAN: Larry, I'm going to reach over this lucite table and slap you silly. The most powerful man in American broadcasting.
KING: There's many issues to discuss, but I know this is a big week for you. This is Indy week.
LETTERMAN: Well, yeah, sure, Indianapolis. Of course, my hometown is Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500.
KING: Are you going for the race?
LETTERMAN: No. I will be going to Michigan for the U.S. 500. There is a schism, and IndyCar and CART decided not to participate in the Indianapolis 500 this year, because it was not an open field for qualification.
KING: So what's the Michigan?
LETTERMAN: The Michigan will be the IndyCar and CART drivers driving at the Michigan Speedway. It's a two-mile oval.
KING: Are you the Grand Marshal?
LETTERMAN: No, I'm not the Grand Marshal. I'm going because I like to be there.
KING: You like watching the sport.
LETTERMAN: I like motor sports, yes, so that's where I'll be.
KING: How do you follow it? Really, how do you follow it? (Larry King makes circles with his hands)
LETTERMAN: That's pretty good.
KING: Who's the lead? I'm a sports fan. I've never figured out who's the lap leader.
LETTERMAN: How many times has your nurse come into your bedroom in the middle of the night and seen you doing that?
KING: We're going to take a break now, David.
LETTERMAN: Oh, good.
KING: Where in Michigan is this?
LETTERMAN: It's in Brooklyn, Michigan.
KING: This is a put-on, right?
LETTERMAN: It's not a put-on. Read a paper. Can we get Mr. King a newspaper?
KING: Why would they have a race the same day as Indy?
LETTERMAN: Because there is something called the Indy Racing League founded by Tony George, who happens to be the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the rules of qualifying for the event this year were not suitable or
compatible to the members of IndyCar and CART who have heretofore raced there fairly exclusively.
KING: And you are a Car and CART man?
LETTERMAN: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
KING: Over the Indy?
LETTERMAN: That's right. It's a new concern, and clearly Mr. George wants to have his own racing series.
KING: I see. Do you race?
LETTERMAN: No, I don't race.
KING: Would you like to race?
LETTERMAN: I would if I were perhaps a younger smarter man, but being kind of an old dope, no, no, I have no interest in it.
KING: You fear death?
LETTERMAN: No, it's not that I fear death. It's just that if you know a little bit about motor sports, and if you know the
people who participate in it, I have a great deal of respect for these people, because they are courageous, they are intelligent,
and what they are able to do right on the edge, getting these automobiles to perform and to control them is breathtaking, it's
artful and it's graceful when it's done properly. When it's not done properly, it can scare you silly, but it's a lovely thing when
KING: The life and times of David Letterman on Larry King Live. Are you holding up okay?
LETTERMAN: I'm all right, Larry. Man, you should have seen the fit. Unbelievable. He tossed a chair across the studio, if in
fact we can call this a studio.
KING: We'll be right back.
(Shot of overturned chair)
LETTERMAN: We just had an intern who ran screaming and crying from the studio moments before we took the air.
KING: There you have it. Okay, you found me out. All right. Lots of bases to cover.
LETTERMAN: All right. Let's go. Shoot.
KING: What do you make of this fight going on at night that continues? Why is Leno-Letterman still a story?
LETTERMAN: Oh, I don't know. It's silly to me, and honestly, I keep forgetting. You know, when you said, "What about the fight?" I thought what exactly are we talking about, because it's not really a factor in my life -- I can't speak for the Tonight Show and those people -- and it never really was. When we went on the air, jeez, three years ago almost now, we were not expected to do very well. People said, "This is going to come and go," and we didn't come and go. We came on doing very
very well, better than anybody thought, better than I thought, and maybe even unreasonably, and that lasted for about two
years, and so we were really very lucky, and now with all of the other problems and vagaries and difficulties that any
television network experiences over the course of time, we are just now right about where they thought we would be in the beginning. So we feel like, you know --
KING: You don't feel like you're losing.
LETTERMAN: I'm telling you something, Larry, I'm the luckiest man in show business to be -- I've been doing this -- I mean, this is nothing compared to you. You've been in broadcasting since --
KING: 39 years.
LETTERMAN: Yeah. Marconi, I guess, actually held the microphone for you, didn't he? Is that what you were telling me
KING: Sol Marconi.
KING: So you feel lucky.
LETTERMAN: I feel very lucky to be able to do what we love doing, and all things considered we are doing pretty well.
We're taking caring of ourselves and by and large happy, yeah.
KING: But you're not troubled by that?
KING: Are you troubled that stories make the press like who your producer is? Does that bug you?
LETTERMAN: No, it doesn't bother me, because I think that, you know, it may be news, it may not be news. To me it's
not news. To me it's television, and if the guy who runs the shoe store down the street has a personnel change, you know
that doesn't really get in the newspaper. So in and of itself, is it news? Probably not, but the fact that it is television, then it
makes it maybe news.
KING: Did you make it news by making Morty, Bob Morton, a part of the show? You showed him a lot, you kidded him a lot,
so he became a character.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, I guess so. He was a fixture, part of the show, and he was with us for a long, long time, I guess about
15 years, and he was just the best, you know, and I'm sorry he is no longer with us. We would like to have had Bob continue with us, but we needed -- I needed to make some changes, and unfortunately Bob didn't feel like he could stay with us.
KING: Was that hard to do?
LETTERMAN: It was one of the most difficult things I've --
KING: You can ever do. I don't know how you do that.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, other than meeting your friends before the show. My God, that just seemed endless. Larry has an
KING: What do you mean? They're people. They're nice people.
LETTERMAN: I know they're people, but it is just endless. It's like 80 people.
KING: They're some beautiful people there.
LETTERMAN: All they can talk about is, "Larry, where are we going for dinner after the show? What's on tonight, Larry?"
KING: That's not true. They came to see you, most of them.
LETTERMAN: And then he tossed the chair. Yeah, but saying good-bye to Bob was very, very difficult, and he'll go on to
bigger and better things. The truth of it is he, I think, was ready to go anyway. He had kind of outgrown us. He is a man of
great bold vision and will do very nicely for himself, and we wish him the best of luck, and happy birthday to him -- he just
had a birthday -- and I'm sorry that he's still not part of the organization.
KING: Stories about a continuing rift are wrong? Let's put them to rest or --
LETTERMAN: I don't know. I have not seen those stories.
KING: Is he mad?
LETTERMAN: He might be mad. I'm not mad. I'm sorry and I'm sad if he in fact is mad, because he's a great friend, and I
know that that friendship will always be in place. There's a thing in Rolling Stone a couple of weeks ago where I referred to
the situation, I said something about, "You have to amputate an infected limb for the patient to survive."
KING: That's pretty rough.
LETTERMAN: Well, yeah, but, you know, look at me. And so it occurred to me later, I thought, oh, well, of course, Bob is to going assume that he's the infected limb.
KING: What else? What do you think he would think?
LETTERMAN: I was referring to the circumstance, to the organization. It was a poor figure of speech to have chosen for
that. So I sent him a note and I said, "Bob, you know, I always thought of you as like a really bad sore throat or perhaps a
sinus infection, but never, never an infected limb." So I felt badly for that, but if there are ongoing feelings, you know, I'm
not part of that.
KING: Is that your show or a producer's show? Does the texture change? What does a new producer bring?
LETTERMAN: The producer has -- it's interesting. We have myself. We have the producer. We have several producers. Talent. It's actually -- it's like a large quilt. Everybody can contribute.
KING: But the new head of the quilt changes the quilt?
LETTERMAN: Yes, and if he would just stop drinking, I think we'd make a little better progress.
KING: Is that a problem?
LETTERMAN: I didn't want to bring it up here tonight, but just between you and me, it started out with a little preshow
brandy. That's where it began, and it's just gone downhill since.
KING: Are you planning more changes?
LETTERMAN: I think one day I'll probably get really angry and fire myself. Here, here is the infected limb that's got to go.
KING: How would you handle it? Would you quit on the air like Paar?
LETTERMAN: You know, it was interesting. I thought about that on my way over here, honest to goodness.
KING: That tonight you would use this program, this historic program --
LETTERMAN: No, no, no.
KING: -- To make it --
LETTERMAN: No, Larry, no.
LETTERMAN: Call for reservations. Larry King, party of 46.
KING: Okay, stop.
LETTERMAN: No. It was so silly, and it's very vivid to me.
LETTERMAN: If I could just make this one point, Mr. King.
LETTERMAN: I know a lot of people. Hal Gurnee directed Jack Paar. A guy by the name of Pete Fatovich worked on that
show. Pete is a wonderful guy, Hal Gurnee is a terrific guy, and they have told me this story thousands of times. It's like Pete,
he has two stories, and he tells each one of them about a thousand times a day.
KING: What's the story?
LETTERMAN: The story is the night that Jack Paar walked off the show, walked off the Tonight Show.
KING: I watched it.
LETTERMAN: And I just wonder now -- and it must have been a compelling moment. It must have been a "HUH?" One of
those kind of things.
KING: He was ticked.
LETTERMAN: And I just wonder now what a person could do on television to get that kind of attention. I don't think there
really is much of anything. But the reason he left was so silly. He told some story that now --
KING: About an outhouse.
LETTERMAN: About an outhouse, and he used the phrase w-c for "water closet," and the network intervened and said,
"We can't have that kind of language on our network. We can't have a man using part of the alphabet in a story." And so Jack,
he just went crazy and started sobbing like a woman, God bless him.
KING: And walked off. He physically walked off.
LETTERMAN: He walked off. He said, "I can't work like this. I'm gone." And I just think, wow, I mean, think about what that
is, what the substance of it is.
KING: That was live live then.
LETTERMAN: It was live, and, you know, and he was gone for a few months.
KING: Supposing you said -- let's say Monday night you go to the new producer, you go to the network, you say, "I'm gonna
do it live Monday. I'm gonna go at 11:35. I want to do it live."
KING: "I've got some ideas."
KING: And you choose that night.
KING: To go where men have feared to walk.
LETTERMAN: Well, first of all, I'm thinking now what would that do to my lunch schedule, because we do the show later,
so that means I have the lunch at noon, so when would I have my lunch? That's all I can think about.
KING: How do you want to go out?
LETTERMAN: I'd just like to say, "Okay, thank you very much for the opportunity. I've had a lot of fun here at CBS, and I'll never be able to repay my gratitude to the network and to the people who have watched over the years and friends I've made,
you know, like yourself" -- for the sake of this story only -- "and thank you and good luck to all."
KING: Might you leave CBS for another network?
LETTERMAN: No, no, no, no.
KING: Forget it?
LETTERMAN: No. I will do this show on CBS for as long as I want to, for as long as the network wants me to, and for as
long as the vast North American viewing public will stand for it.
KING: Mr. Ovitz was in town today to open the Disney store.
LETTERMAN: Oh, man, what a major event that was. I saw -- I turned on this morning -- I got up bright and early and I watched Good Morning America. It's an ABC show -- I'm not sure what the connection is there with ABC and Disney -- and they devoted the entire two-hour show -- listen to this, you're not gonna believe this -- to the opening, to the opening of a
Disney merchandise retail outlet. Now, let me run through this again. This a place where you can go to spend your money
on Mickey Mouse t-shirts. Now, is that a two-hour news story? Absolutely.
KING: We'll be right back with the angry Letterman right after this.
(Video of Letterman and Manny the Hippie)
LETTERMAN: Congratulations. Nice going. There you go.
KING: Look at this. Look at this. Go ahead. Show what we've got on camera.
LETTERMAN: This is a steady cam, and this is a system of counter balances and pulleys, and the idea is the cameraman,
the operator, can be in motion. You could be running like a thousand miles an hour and the image stays steady, and it's usually
for action shots, a lot of stunt work like high speed chases, and tonight they're using it -- the application tonight is two
middle-aged men sitting in chairs. Thattaboy. Here you go, Ted. There's some of your money being well spent. Thattaboy.
No, sir, no old-fashioned pedestal camera for Dave and Larry.
KING: We got a crowd here. We got Marty. We got Cindy. We got Rich. We got Ellen.
LETTERMAN: We'll be with Larry in a few minutes. Okay, Brooklyn. I've been vindicated. it apparently is Brooklyn.
KING: It is Brooklyn, Michigan. You're been vindicated. The skits that we've seen, you ride in the back of a bus and a cab.
I've been on your show once -- I've been on your show 16 times, and one of those times you had me in an ambulance.
That's true. We opened in an ambulance.
KING: Where does this come from?
LETTERMAN: It comes from the writers. I have very little to do with that.
KING: You mean a guy sits down with you and says, "We've got Larry on the show tonight. Let's open in an ambulance"?
LETTERMAN: I can't speak to that exactly but --
KING: How does it happen?
LETTERMAN: Well, I can tell you in the case of me and Manny the hippie riding around San Francisco in a van -- we were
in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago and had a great time. It was a lot of fun to do the show, and that's one of those
cities -- I had always been there, you know, my girl friend's ex-parents -- no, my ex-girl friend's parents -- no, they're still her parents -- lived up there, and periodically we'd go up there, like a week-end or something, beautiful and a great deal of fun,
but I had never spent any sustained time up there. The longer you stay in San Francisco, the nicer it gets.
KING: It's hard to believe.
LETTERMAN: It just kind of washes over you, and it's a lovely experience. So anyway, we thought it might be fun to go to Haight-Ashbury and see if there were vestiges of the hippie lifestyle, and we found a kid, 17 years old, 19 years old, by the
name of Manny who said he was a hippie, and I don't know. How can you tell exactly? And we spent the day with him riding around in a van. Now, I can tell you that this is the best part of my job and the worst part of my job.
LETTERMAN: Well, sociologically it was fascinating, because here I am pushing 50 riding around in a van with a 19-year-old hippie finding out a little bit about his world and his life, and it was really interesting, it was fun. On the other hand --
KING: What's the minus?
LETTERMAN: The minus is I'm nearly 50 and I'm spending the day in a van, you know, I could be delivering meat, for God's sakes.
KING: So you kind of look at yourself and say --
LETTERMAN: Well, you just think, well, here I am in the back of van. What's that all about?
KING: We're going to be taking calls. I asked you, does Mike Ovitz -- Mike Ovitz doesn't represent you any more?
LETTERMAN: No. He's got his hands full over there at Disney. Do you understand what I'm talking about? In addition to
paying the seven-fifty, eight bucks to go see a Disney movie two or three times --
KING: Oh, here we go again.
LETTERMAN: -- in addition to paying the 30 or 40 or a hundred dollars to get the Disney videotapes, there now is a store, if
you have any money left over from going to Orlando and spending two or three weeks every year in Disney World, if there's anything left over, you and the family can go spend it in the Disney store.
KING: And ABC showed it this morning for two hours.
LETTERMAN: Unbelievable. I was stunned. What a coup. How did they scoop the other networks on that? I want to tell you something, Larry, the whole thing stinks.
KING: So you're mad. It's Mad Dave tonight, right? That's what you ought to be, Angry Dave.
LETTERMAN: That's right. I'm Mad Dave.
KING: When we take a break, we'll come back, and then we'll take some calls.
LETTERMAN: Hey, calls. Cool.
KING: You love that.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, I like taking them calls.
KING: I do want to ask you also about being a weatherman.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, sure, whatever you got, Larry.
KING: I want to find out what makes --
LETTERMAN: You've got a thing here on your lip. What the hell is that?
KING: I don't know. Was that shaving?
LETTERMAN: I don't know. It's like it's -- since the show's begun, it's gotten larger. That's all I can tell you. Because I
wasn't going to say anything, but now it's like the moon is coming up.
KING: Where is it? Because you're a hypochondriac. I can't go by you. I can't go by you.
LETTERMAN: I know it. Yeah, bring in the camera. Bring in the steady-cam. Get right in there on Larry's -- right there.
KING: Let's see if you can get it.
LETTERMAN: Right in there. Can we get Mr. King some Blistex.
KING: I want my Blistex or I'll -- we'll be right back. Here's another skit from Letterman. Don't go away.
LETTERMAN: Oh, skits, more skits.
(Video of Dave driving around having fun in a car)
KING: We're back with David Letterman.
LETTERMAN: Can I just take a second here, Larry -- I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt -- To give our World Wide Web address. If people want to e-mail, we are on the World Wide Web as well.
KING: You are too?
LETTERMAN: wwwwww.com com com com ........ com com diggity diggity diggity dank.com.com diggity www.com Dave.com.com. So give us some of that e-mail or something.
KING: Hold on.
LETTERMAN: Have you got that, Larry?
KING: Would you repeat that? I want to get it right.
LETTERMAN: Come on, Larry. The bit's over. Pick it up.
KING: All right. We'll take a call in a minute, but let's hear Dave the weatherman. How did you do weather? Were you good?
LETTERMAN: No, I was not very good. I've never really been very good at anything in my life.
KING: Were you on the news?
LETTERMAN: I was on the news. I was like the weekend weatherman.
KING: Okay, so the anchor was sitting there and --
LETTERMAN: And the booth announcer and the anchorman and and I would be standing in front of the giant weather map
that was painted on plywood, and I can remember our station was an AVCO affiliate. It was WLWI. I think there was an
AVCO in Atlanta late in the version, and then AVCO got out and went into, I don't know, toasters that don't drip. I don't
know what they ended up making.
KING: So you had this map.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, they had the big map, and I would stand in front of the map, and then one day we had enough money to buy one of these chromakey generators, and the chromakey generator in those days was about the size of this box, and it
plugged into a rack of electronics, and what it could do, it would put one image over another. It would remove enough image
so you could be right there, so it looked like -- They said, "Now, here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna have you standing over here, and then with the chromakey it will look like you're right in front of the map." And I said, "You mean like it looks
now when I'm standing right in front of the map?" "Yes, that's the way we're going to do it."
KING: So in other words, all they did was the same thing they had with the map?
LETTERMAN: Yes, it was silly. It was just silly. Yes, exactly.
KING: And you weren't very good?
LETTERMAN: No, I wasn't very good, but it was fun, you know, being on TV is fun, you know, it's the best fun you can
KING: So it was important to be a weatherman?
LETTERMAN: Well, sometimes in Indianapolis, you know, that's tornado alley there, and it's a lot of rural areas, a lot of agriculture still in that part of the state. I think they're no. 1 or no. 2 when it comes to producing popcorn, so these people
rely on accurate weather information, but they got to know early on if they needed accurate weather information, they
shouldn't be watching me.
KING: Have you seen Twister?
LETTERMAN: Oh, man, have I seen Twister. What a powerful film. You know what it's about, Larry. It's about an average family, and they have two or three kids, and they live in Milwaukee, and one day a twister chases the old man to work. "Oh,
my God, it's a twister." For the rest of the movie, the twister follows them all over the country.
KING: That's not the movie, David.
LETTERMAN: They move to Los Angeles; the twister follows them there. They move to the Albuquerque; the twister follows
KING: That's not the movie, David.
LETTERMAN: It's unbelievable. The special effects, I want to tell you something, Larry, them special effects is fantastic.
KING: Better than Disney could have done. Better than Disney?
LETTERMAN: No, no, no.
KING: Epping, New Hampshire. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Dave.
CALLER: I'm 13, and I've watched your shows for two years, and I've written letters to you, and I was just wondering if, you know, since you're the most powerful man in broadcasting today --
LETTERMAN: You would like me to adopt you?
CALLER: Yeah, that would be pretty cool.
LETTERMAN: All right, fine. Just send along the forms. We'll have them notarized.
KING: What's your question?
CALLER: Also I was wondering if you could lower the age limit to come see your show, because I've written letters, and
they've sent me post cards saying you have to be 16.
KING: You have to be 16 to see your show?
LETTERMAN: And you're 13 right now?
LETTERMAN: I want to tell you something. The kind of show we do gets better and better every day, so you're really in a
much better situation waiting three years, because as good as it is now, in three years you won't be able to stand it.
KING: Why won't you let a 13-year-old into the show?
LETTERMAN: It's not my decision.
KING: Oh, cop-out.
LETTERMAN: Because I love kids, and the kids love me, as evidenced by this call from -- where is it, Epping?
KING: Epping, New Hampshire.
LETTERMAN: I think we're missing a letter. It can't just be Epping.
LETTERMAN: Well, Yes, that's right. Very good, Larry.
KING: Why don't you let 13-year-olds --
LETTERMAN: It's not my decision. It has to do with child labor laws. That's all I can say.
KING: They're not working.
LETTERMAN: Well, we'd like to see them pulling cable, you know, get them in a pair of work gloves.
KING: So you're telling this poor lady wait three years.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, and I'm sorry about it. It's out of my hands. It's the FCC. It's the network. It's Ed Sullivan. It was an
Ed Sullivan thing. He wouldn't let kids in the theater and we have to -- it's a grandfather clause. There's nothing we can do
KING: San Ramon, California. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Dave. Over the years I feel that you've shown us everything and done everything that you can do in New York,
and since it is clearly more difficult to get guests on the East Coast, and your shows in San Francisco were so fresh, and
you really seemed much happier, I wondered if you wouldn't consider moving to the world's favorite city, San Francisco.
LETTERMAN: Well, you know, the best thing for me to do would be just to move to San Francisco and forget the show.
I had such a great time there, and I gained like 80 pounds, honestly, I gained 80 pounds, but I don't know. I think that
maybe if we did the show in San Francisco, people there would soon tire of us and start to hate us.
KING: You really believe that, don't you?
LETTERMAN: No. It's a joke, Larry. What is wrong with you? I try to make a joke with everything. Just keep in that in
mind, all right? Man, you're a lot of work.
KING: Basel Switzerland, hello.
LETTERMAN: This is not Basel.
CALLER: Hi, Dave.
LETTERMAN: You're not in Switzerland. Quit pretending.
KING: We are seen in Switzerland.
LETTERMAN: I know, you're not -- Okay, where next? Neptune? Yes, we're getting a call from Neptune.
KING: Go ahead, Basel.
LETTERMAN: Go right ahead.
CALLER: Any chance we're going to see your show in Switzerland?
KING: She wants to know if they can see it in Switzerland. Have you seen it in the United States, Ma'am?
CALLER: Oh, yes, since the beginning.
KING: And you are in Basel. Is the weather nice?
CALLER: Yeah, pretty nice.
KING: Why aren't you seen in Switzerland? We are.
LETTERMAN: Whoa. I think we are seen in the United Kingdom. I believe we are seen in Germany. I think we are seen in
the Netherlands. Maybe we will be seen in Switzerland. We are seen in South America and Australia, so that may -- what are
you doing in Switzerland, by the way?
CALLER: That's a good question.
KING: What are you doing?
CALLER: My husband works here.
KING: What does he do?
LETTERMAN: Let me ask you a question. Larry, I have a feeling here. Is your husband in the chocolate industry?
LETTERMAN: Oh, I thought maybe he was over there --
KING: Why don't you ask it better and say, "What does he do?" What does your husband do?
CALLER: He yodels.
LETTERMAN: There you go, Larry.
KING: He's a yodler.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, that's right. He's a yodler. Of course he is.
KING: You don't believe it.
LETTERMAN: No, and she's in the lobby. She's not in Switzerland. Thank you very much, ma'am. Good luck.
KING: She's in Switzerland.
LETTERMAN: She's not in Switzerland.
KING: Is your husband there, ma'am?
CALLER: Yeah. He's asleep.
KING: Wake him up and have him yodel.
CALLER: It's six hours difference.
KING: It's six hours difference, so it's like 3:30 in the morning.
CALLER: 3:30 in the morning.
KING: Wake him up and have him yodel.
CALLER: Yeah, right.
LETTERMAN: Oh, this will be good.
KING: Letterman would -- would you wake him up and have him -- no, okay. They told me to lose him because they don't
trust the call.
LETTERMAN: But a good try. But a good try.
KING: I trusted the call. It would have been fun.
LETTERMAN: That was not Switzerland.
KING: That's why you have fun and we don't. Want to see a temper tantrum? We'll be right back with more on Larry King
Live. We lost him. Don't go away.
LETTERMAN: We're taking calls from Jupiter. Come back. A call from Jupiter, honest.
(Video of stupid pet tricks)
KING: We just showed orange slices back here.
KING: Pink grapefruit.
LETTERMAN: Well, whatever, sure.
KING: You said that your life changed two weeks ago.
LETTERMAN: I'll tell you what happened.
KING: Tell us, David. This is news.
LETTERMAN: I've told this on the air and --
KING: It's news because we are worldwide.
LETTERMAN: Maybe you can understand this. Maybe you can relate to this. Maybe people in your audience have had a
similar experience, and I am a very desperate person. I had -- for some reason my bite shifted. I guess I was grinding my
teeth or something, and as a result my whole bite shifted, and when that happened one of my teeth started banging into the
roof of my mouth, and I thought, well, it will heal up, and it would heal up if you spent every minute of your life like that (Letterman holds his mouth open), but you can't. You have to talk. You have to eat. You have to go places and have people
look at your teeth. So as a result it just kept getting worse and worse and worse. So finally, what do you do? I went to the dentist. The guy said, "Well, here's the tooth that's banging into the roof of your mouth. I'm going to just file that down."
So he does. He gets out and he files it. He hops right in there, takes it off. I said, "That's great. It doesn't hurt any more."
I woke up the next day, and from that moment on ever since then I now whistle when I talk, because he filed off the tooth,
and it's driving me insane.
KING: I don't hear it.
LETTERMAN: Yes, you do. It's sibilus. Every word I say, ssss, you hear that? I'm a tea kettle. You're looking at a tea kettle
in a jacket here.
KING: I think you're a little paranoid.
LETTERMAN: While I talk, cabs show up at the Ed Sullivan theater. They think, oh, somebody's calling a cab.
KING: Well, what can you do about it?
LETTERMAN: I don't know, Larry. I'm at my wit's end.
KING: Did you go back to the dentist?
LETTERMAN I talked to the dentist extensively, and he says -- now, listen to what he says -- "That's all right. Come on back
in. We'll build it up again." I say, "Great, Einstein, but what will that do? It will reopen the wound in the roof of my mouth." Larry, let's face it, I'm screwed.
KING: Another thing. You stopped smoking cigars.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, I did. Man, do I miss those cigars.
KING: What made you quit?
LETTERMAN: Well, It's been a pattern since I started smoking in the late 70's, or whenever I started, smoke for a couple of years, stop for a couple years, smoke for a couple years, because I'm beginning to hear and see some things that indicate to
me that maybe tobacco smoke is not that good for you.
KING: You're really starting to --
LETTERMAN: I'm starting to see a few things that make me uncomfortable.
KING: Is it the thing on the cigarette pack? Is that possible? Maybe the Surgeon General?
LETTERMAN: The problem is I can't do anything in moderation. I start out, I have one cigar. I was talking to Cosby. I'll
drop a name. You don't mind if I drop a name right there. I'm trying to heat this up a little, if I can.
KING: And he said --
LETTERMAN: I said, "How many cigars do you have a day?" And he said, "Two." I said, "When?" He said, "One after lunch,
one after dinner." Wow, that would be great. I was smoking like 20 a day. I was smoking them like gum, you know. That's
KING: You gained a little weight, but you look great.
LETTERMAN: I've gained like six pounds and it's driving me insane.
KING: I'm concerned about your health though. You have high cholesterol.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, it's about 460. It's about 460.
KING: I hope we make it to the top of the hour. Your father died of a heart attack. Are you concerned with high cholesterol?
LETTERMAN: You know, because a few years ago -- actually about 12 years ago I went to UCLA and had the treadmill test done where they --
KING: You're supposed to do it every year.
LETTERMAN: -- they have a team of technicians with gloves watch you on the treadmill, and then they gave me the clean
bill of health there, and then they gave me the cholesterol, and the guy said, "Your cholesterol is 250. We would like to see this come down, but it's still in that five-to-one ratio, the HDL to the LDL." And so I tried. I was eating -- like what do you eat for that, like bran?
LETTERMAN: Yeah, bran. I was having it delivered to the house by the truck. Amish guys were unloading bran in my back
yard just by the --
KING: So what now?
LETTERMAN: So it didn't budge. So I said after a couple of years of nothing but bran, and it didn't move, I said the hell with
it, so it's same as it was then.
KING: Terre Haute, Indiana, and you told me every time you're on there's a call from Terre Haute.
LETTERMAN: That's right.
KING: Terre Haute.
CALLER: Hi, this is Kim from Terre Haute.
LETTERMAN: Hi, Kim, how are you?
CALLER: Fine. How you doing, Dave?
LETTERMAN: I'm pretty good. Thank you very much. What's your cholesterol, Kim?
KING: A little higher than it should be, I think.
LETTERMAN: All right. Get to work on that.
KING: What's your question, Kim?
CALLER: I wanted to ask Dave if he remembers a show that aired late at night many years ago in Indianapolis. The name of
the program was "Freeze-dried Movies," and the host called himself Don Lingerman.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, that's right. That's a show that I did.
KING: Don Lingerman?
LETTERMAN: It was a joke. I used to get mail, and still do occasionally, because people think that the double t in
Letterman is an h, you know, sometimes when you write it, it comes out like an h as opposed to a double t. I used to get a
lot of mail addressed to Don Leherman.
KING: So you took that name?
LETTERMAN: So from there it was all versions of that name, Don Lingerman, Don Leherman, on and on and on.
KING: And you showed late night movies?
LETTERMAN: Yeah, it was late night movies. I actually took over the show from a guy named Jack O'Hara. He got the
show before I did, very funny guy, had been in advertising in a local theater in Indianapolis, quite a talented man, and he did
the show when it was really kind of thriving, and then he got tired of the schedule and went on to do other things, and so they
let me do it, and there for a time I was, you know, doing anything I could at the station, and it was fun, but it was only on the
air a year or so maybe.
KING: Did you always think you would make it?
LETTERMAN: No, no. I'm not sure I -- no, no. What you realize early on -- maybe this came to you -- I'm sure it does to
many people -- and it's a great blessing, by the way -- you know early on what it is you want to do with your life, and when
you know that, it removes all the pressure that maybe others less fortunate than you experience and struggle with and rail
against and fight the rest of their lives. I knew from about the time I was 17 that I wanted to be in broadcasting, and when I
was 19 I was working in broadcasting and have worked in broadcasting ever since.
KING: You never thought about -- it didn't matter making it -- you made it on --
LETTERMAN: No. To get in there and to do that, I mean, it's just -- it's so much fun, and somebody who says, "Well, I
want to be a singer, I want to be a writer, I want to be whatever," once you have made that realization and you can do it and
are reinforced for it, you know, that's a lovely thing for your life.
KING: Back with more of David Letterman, the most powerful man in American broadcasting.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, it's a three-hour show tonight. It seems like a three-hour show, Larry.
KING: No, it's going by fast.
LETTERMAN: It's a special of some kind. It's a three-hour show.
KING: The man is not well.
LETTERMAN: Is wrestling not ready to go? What are we doing?
(Video of Letterman with kids)
LETTERMAN: Larry travels with his family.
KING: What's wrong with my brother?
LETTERMAN: Nothing is wrong with your brother, but you know by now, they're in it for the free meal. You must know by now.
KING: You think that's why they're here?
LETTERMAN: Of course. Look at them.
KING: Why do you kid Kathie Lee Gifford all the time? You were just mentioning her.
LETTERMAN: Kathie Lee Gifford is -- first of all, over the years I've gotten to know a little bit about her, and she's always
been really very nice to us. She comes on the show and --
KING: She likes you.
LETTERMAN -- and I say horrible things about her, about Regis, about whatever, and she's always, you know, really good
and kind of understands that we're just, you know, trying to have fun, so she has gained a great deal of respect from me for
KING: But you're on this Honduras thing.
LETTERMAN: It's just something that I referenced during the commercial that I am not certain is something we want to
discuss now that we're live to Switzerland.
KING: Well, if you had clothes manufactured in another country, would it bother you if it were --
LETTERMAN: You know, I can't really comment on the story, because I don't know the details.
KING: Neither do we.
LETTERMAN: All I know is that there was some suggestion that her Kathie Lee Gifford line of clothing, her peignoir -- Is
that furniture or clothing? I don't know. Bustier, is that furniture?
KING: I don't know what you're talking about.
LETTERMAN: Well, she has these things made, and then you can go into K-mart and buy them, and there was some
suggestion that they were being made under slave labor conditions.
KING: You don't believe that, do you?
LETTERMAN: Well, I don't know, I don't know, but apparently it is all being taken care of now being made by --
KING: By what?
LETTERMAN: Members of the Kiwanis Club. I don't know.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with David Letterman after this.
KING: Boy, we ought to see Twister.
LETTERMAN: Chasing the family all over.
KING: Chasing the family all over the country.
LETTERMAN: Man, it's got you right on the edge of your seat.
KING: I think Tom Hanks is in it.
LETTERMAN: "Look, Mom, there's another twister."
KING: Who plays the wife?
LETTERMAN: Tom Cruise is in it.
KING: Tom Cruise.
LETTERMAN: Meg Ryan is in it.
KING: Meg Ryan.
LETTERMAN: Huge, it's a mega cast.
KING: Some movie.
LETTERMAN: Helen Hunt, by the way, is lovely, a nice woman.
KING: She's got a small part.
LETTERMAN: I like Helen Hunt. She's like the star of Twister.
KING: I know that.
LETTERMAN: Small part? She's the star of Twister.
KING: You're not gonna believe this. Michael Ovitz came running over, and he brought you a couple gifts.
LETTERMAN: Oh, this will be good. Oh, look. It's a little duck. Isn't that cute? Talk about Honduran sweat shops, ladies and gentlemen. Now, this is an item, now, if you go down to the store -- I believe they'll be open again tomorrow -- this is about a two hundred dollar item right here, all right, and then we have Mickey.
KING: What's over here, Dave?
LETTERMAN: Mickey. Look at that. Isn't that cute? Very, very nice. This is the kind of thing -- this is why the American
work force is working so hard, to be able to have these lovely items in their home. God bless you, Larry.
KING: Why do we love them so much, do you think?
LETTERMAN: Well, it brings out the kid in all of us. They appeal to the kid from nine to 90, you know what I mean Larry,
from nine to 90.
KING: They're real, aren't they?
LETTERMAN: Yes, they really are. They speak to us.
KING: Who did you like better, Donald or Mickey?
LETTERMAN: I always liked Donald.
KING: Me too.
LETTERMAN: And I like Mickey as well, and, of course, you can't go wrong with Minnie.
KING: Do you like Minnie?
LETTERMAN: Minnie, sure, yeah.
KING: How about Daffy Duck?
LETTERMAN: Daffy, of course, always Daffy.
KING: Do you like Goofy?
LETTERMAN: There's something about animated animals that just really -- let's take a call.
KING: No, I think we're out of time.
LETTERMAN: Oh, thank God.
KING: But Michael wanted you to have these.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, I know. That's a cute idea.
KING: He'll be in the store tomorrow.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, thank you. All right.
KING: Are you going over to the store?
LETTERMAN: Yeah, I'll be there, Larry.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, I'll be there early.
KING: Who's on the show tomorrow night? I'll bet you don't know.
LETTERMAN: Tomorrow night is, by gosh, you know, I don't know.
KING: Who's on tomorrow night?
LETTERMAN: I just don't know. I can't even tell you who was on tonight.
KING: We have Mr. Uelmen, Gerry Uelmen, the lawyer for O.J. Simpson.
LETTERMAN: Oh, he was on tonight. He was on tonight.
KING: He was on your show tonight?
LETTERMAN: He was very, very good, very, very good. Get him to tell the story about him and the queen.
KING: Say good night. Say good night.
LETTERMAN: Now wait a minute. I just want to say one thing here. Thank you very much. Whenever I'm on this program,
you and your staff really make us look like big shots, and I truly appreciate all of the attention and the effort. You do a
wonderful job. Thank you for everything.
KING: Thank you, David.
LETTERMAN: Thank you, Larry.
KING: You're a great performer.
LETTERMAN: Oh, yeah, I'm a great performer.
KING: See you tomorrow night.
LETTERMAN: I was going great until you brought out the puppets, Larry. Whose idea was that?
KING: We'll see you tomorrow night with Mr. Uelmen if you don't see him already tonight on his show. Say good night,
LETTERMAN: Good night. Thank you very much, Larry.
KING: Good night
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