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February 15th 1994
David Letterman Interviewing Richard Simmons

LETTERMAN: I can't think of a better night to have our first guest on the program.

SHAFFER: Oh, yeah?

LETTERMAN: You know, for example, let me tell you something seriously. When all the money is counted at the end of this game we call life, our first guest will have most of it. He is the mastermind creator of Deal-A-Meal and any videotape with the word "sweatin'" in the title. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my fitness guru and yours, Richard Simmons.

(Richard Simmons comes out throwing Mardi Gras necklaces to the audience. He throws a necklace to Paul. Letterman sits back smoking a cigar looking disgusted while all this is going on. Richard tries to put some necklaces around Letterman's neck, but Letterman just politely accepts them in his hands)

SIMMONS: Hi, everybody!

LETTERMAN: Well, aren't you the cutest little thing?

(Richard smiles demurely)

LETTERMAN: How are you, Richard? Nice to see you.

Welcome to the show.

SIMMONS: (Exaggerated masculine demeanor) How you doing, Dave?

LETTERMAN: You know, you look -- I thought maybe in the new theater here, you'd dress --

SIMMONS: I asked. I asked.

LETTERMAN: I thought maybe you'd dress!

SIMMONS: I asked. I wanted to put like a coat on and stuff, and they told me that I should just be me.

LETTERMAN: Is that what this is?

(Richard Simmons acts like his feelings are very hurt)

LETTERMAN: Now don't fall for that. He's pretending. You just came from New Orleans.

SIMMONS: I was there in New Orleans, and I came here, and today is Fat Tuesday.

LETTERMAN: That's right.

SIMMONS: Today is Mardi Gras.

(Audience cheers)

SIMMONS: That's right, and hundreds of thousands of people are watching you at WWLTV in New Orleans.

LETTERMAN: New Orleans is a great town.

SIMMONS: My mom's there. Hi, Mom. Hi, Lenny, my brother.

LETTERMAN: I've never been to --

(Letterman looks disgusted.)

SIMMONS: Well, for crying out loud, you've got your mother on. Can't I talk about mine?

(Letterman cracks up and audience cheers)

LETTERMAN: I was going to say, New Orleans is -- and they don't need me to say it, but, man, what a great town. I've never been to the Mardi Gras, but I've been there other times of the year and never failed to have a great time.

SIMMONS: Well, you get asked to be king of parades.

LETTERMAN: They have never asked me, no, no.

SIMMONS: Yes, they have.

LETTERMAN: They have never asked me to be king of anything.

SIMMONS: Yes, they have.

LETTERMAN: No, they haven't. Now, how would you know? Oh, now, see, you do that and you start --

SIMMONS: Because I know. I'm from New Orleans, and we go over lists for the Bacchus and Endymion, and that guy that
has the band, the one from New Orleans that has his own parade --

LETTERMAN: Al Hirt, Pete Fountain.

SIMMONS: No, no. Come on. Starts with, sounds like, you had him here for Christmas, big, he sounds like Frank Sinatra. Anybody know who?


SIMMONS: Harry Connick. He has his own, and he wanted you to be king, and you just wouldn't do it.

LETTERMAN: Nobody asked me.

SIMMONS: I'll ask you.

LETTERMAN: No. Well, I'm busy.

(Richard Simmons acts like his feelings are very hurt)

LETTERMAN: Now, this is where -- New Orleans, are you from New Orleans?

SIMMONS: Born and raised in the French Quarter.

LETTERMAN: And you first started working down there, didn't you?

SIMMONS: I sold pralines.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. What is a praline?

SIMMONS: It's a little round fattening candy with pecans.

(Richard turns to the audience)

How many of you have had a praline?

(Audience cheers)

SIMMONS: See? Everybody has. And to help out --

LETTERMAN: I love that. I just love that. You turn to the audience and you scream, "How many of you have had a praline?" And they go nuts.

SIMMONS: What's the problem with that?

LETTERMAN: Well, I was amused by that. I like that.

SIMMONS: Okay. So I helped my parents make money, so I sold pralines on the street corner.

LETTERMAN: Now, did you eat a lot of pralines yourself?

SIMMONS: Well, when you're in eighth grade and you're 200 pounds, I stuffed 'em down, sure.

LETTERMAN: You were heavy as a child; is that right?

SIMMONS: I was obese.

LETTERMAN: Now, is that where the seeds were first planted for you to help others lose weight? Is that where that began?


LETTERMAN: All right. Pralines. I don't know.

SIMMONS: No. One of the persons I actually sold a praline to -- I feel kind of bad about it now -- was Elvis.

(Richard buries his head in his hands)

LETTERMAN: Elvis came to New Orleans?

SIMMONS: Elvis came to New Orleans to do King Creole, and he looked at me, and he said, "I love those candies," and I gave them to him all. Little did I know he'd be compulsive about it. And then I was in the movie King Creole. I was an extra.

LETTERMAN: Were you really?

SIMMONS: Yeah. I was just a little tot.

LETTERMAN: Do we see you in the movie?

SIMMONS: Well, I mean it's crowd scenes when he is singing, you know, and --

LETTERMAN: Are you sure you're in the movie?

SIMMONS: I know I'm in the movie.

LETTERMAN: Are you sure you're not just making up a story now?

SIMOMONS: Let's not talk about making up stories, David.

(Audience cheers)

LETTERMAN: What does that mean?

SIMMONS: Nothing. So I started making the pralines, and I started selling them, and then I was in the Elvis movie, and that's how I started, making and selling candy.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah, and now you have helped -- how many people around the world have you helped lose weight?

SIMMONS: Well, let's just say today I talked to 63,000 pounds of people.

LETTERMAN: So what is that, like four?

(Audience howls and Richard walks away very hurt)

LETTERMAN: Get over here. Now sit down. Sit down.

SIMMONS: That was another little fat joke, another fat joke from David.

LETTERMAN: You always do this. You act like you're really upset and make me look like a jerk and then --

SIMMONS: You're the one that said "four people."

LETTERMAN: Here you go. Here you go.

(Letterman puts a Mardi Gras necklace on Richard and Richard looks at him very lovingly)

LETTERMAN: You know, that don't look bad.

SIMMONS: I have these.

(Audience howls and Letterman cracks up)

SIMMONS: You know, when the Prince put on Lady Di's beads, you know what that meant.

LETTERMAN: I have no idea.


LETTERMAN: We have to go. We have to go. We'll do a commercial. We have many other things to chat with Richard
Simmons about. Come on back, folks. Nice to see you.


(When they come out of commercial Richard Simmons is smoking a cigar)

LETTERMAN: How are you doing, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back to the program.

SIMMONS: (Singing) Macho macho man. I wanna be a macho man. Will you teach me how to smoke a cigar, Dave?

LETTERMAN: I have the feeling you probably have the hang of it, Richard.

(Audience howls)

SIMMONS: That is it.


SIMMONS: That is it.


SIMMONS: Fine, fine. You wouldn't say that to the old fancy movie stars coming out here. No. Cheap shot, cheap shot, cheap shot.

LETTERMAN: No. I just mean that a kid from New Orleans probably knows all about smoking.

SIMMONS: No. I actually never really smoked. I mean, I love food. I mean, if there was a spaghetti stain on your tie, I'd suck it off.

(Audience howls)

SIMMONS: No, I mean that. I love food. I never got into like cigars or any of that stuff.

LETTERMAN: Man, I'm dropping weight just thinking about that.

(Audience howls)

LETTERMAN: Let's speak just seriously for a second here. You know the kind of thing that I like? I like the stories about the perseverance of the human will. There is no more greater indomitable force than the human spirit, somebody who is dealt a bad deck and then turns it into a huge pot of gold at the end of a long tough hard fight, and I guess something like that can be said of you. You were a huge fat kid.

(Audience laughs)

SIMMONS: We don't like to be called huge, David.

LETTERMAN: Well, how much did you weigh?


LETTERMAN: 268. How tall are you?

SIMMONS: Five-six and a half.


SIMMONS: But it's like, you know, you start at a hundred, then you start at two hundred. I mean, right now there's a lady in Boston who is 700 pounds. She's just lost a hundred pounds and she is watching us.

LETTERMAN: She weighed 800 pounds and now she's --

SIMMONS: She was 700 pounds when I met her. She's now lost a hundred and 45 pounds. I got her in the hospital. And
there's Hambone who I got in the hospital. He's 900 pounds.

LETTERMAN: Now, just a minute. Let me interrupt you. Let me just stop you right there, buddy. Let me just stop you right there. If I had called this moose Hambone you --

(Audience laughs)

SIMMONS: That's his real name.

LETTERMAN: Oh, yeah. Larry Hambone. I'm sure.

SIMMONS: Okay, fine, fine.

LETTERMAN: Get the White Pages. Mr. Hambone?

SIMMONS: So he's in a hospital in Atlanta, and he's lost over a hundred pounds.

LETTERMAN: Good for him.

SIMMONS: And you know it's just hard.

LETTERMAN: I'm serious. Good for him.

SIMMONS: You know, when you dropped a few pounds, you were very proud of yourself, and you did it by --

LETTERMAN: It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I lost 25 pounds.

SIMMONS: You did it by eating healthy, watching your fat and exercising.

(Audience cheers and Letterman blows a kiss to the audience)

LETTERMAN: But anyway, so you should be very, very proud of yourself, and in doing so you've been able to amass a huge fortune.

SIMMONS: No one makes more money than you.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: No, that's not true. I'm not --

SIMMONS: As a matter of fact, the infomercial company, American Telecast, who did Deal-a-Meal and everything for me, is right now in negotiations to try to get you to do an infomercial.

(Letterman cracks up)

SIMMONS: What are you laughing for? What?

LETTERMAN: No, they're not.

SIMMONS: Yes, they are.

LETTERMAN: No. You're telling stories again.

SIMMONS: I am not telling stories.

LETTERMAN: Yes, you are. You're lying. Look at this.

SIMMONS: I'm not lying.

(Audience boos)

SIMMONS: John Marsh and Ed Ship and everybody at American Telecast have an infomercial for you, and they asked me if I would pitch it to you. That's it.

LETTERMAN: And what am I selling in the infomercial?

SIMMONS: I don't like your tone.

(Letterman cracks up and puts up his dukes)

LETTERMAN: Come on. Let's go. Come on. Right now. I don't like your tone. Oh, man.

SIMMONS: When you get it in the mail, you'll thank me.

LETTERMAN: Okay, all right. Well, perhaps I spoke too quickly. How about a song?

SIMMONS: You know, I feel a song coming on, because on this stage there was so many people that sang songs.

LETTERMAN: This is a great place for all that.

SIMMONS: Right there in that little spot all the famous people stood, and I have a little song for the audience.

LETTERMAN: Let me ask you one little thing.

(Letterman points at Richard)

SIMMONS: I like it when you point at me like that.

(Richard looks lovingly at Dave)

LETTERMAN: I don't like your tone.

(Audience howls and Dave punches Richard in the arm a couple times)

LETTERMAN: We're just kidding around. We're just kidding around. Tell the people we're just kidding around. We're just kidding around.

SIMMONS: We're not.

LETTERMAN: Yes, we are. Well, perhaps you're not. But, you know, Richard, when you're done with your little song, do me a favor. Run outside, hop on that little ice sculpture and sit down there in the guest chair. Will you do that?

SIMMONS: For you, Dave, I think I'd do just about anything.

(Richard looks lovingly at Dave)

LETTERMAN: All right. Here we go, Richard Simmons, ladies and gentlemen.

(Richard sings his song and runs out and sits on the ice sculpture)

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