Of all the tributes to Robin Williams, I feel a little bit strange saying I was waiting for David Letterman to come back from vacation to do his. Both comedians go back decades, and Williams appeared on his show over 50 times. Not only was Letterman’s tribute incredibly heart-felt, it put me back in that funk again over the loss of one of the funniest men in history.
Letterman went on to recount the time Williams invited him years later to guest-star on Mork & Mindy, the big break he says was a “double-edged sword” for being both a kind gesture and a show he had “no business being on.” Here’s a clip of Letterman’s appearance on the show.
Last week, Jerry Seinfeld presented a fourth-season episode of his smash web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, a uniquely personal and intimate look at comedy and life with such luminaries as David Letterman, Tina Fey, and Chris Rock. Held at The Paley Center for Media in New York, Jerry discussed the production of this compelling and hilarious project, but unfortunately coffee was not allowed in the theater. You can watch the video in full here.
Dan Rather was the host of the CBS Evening News for 24 years. On October 4, 1986, as Rather was walking along Park Avenue in Manhattan to his apartment, he was attacked and punched from behind by a man who demanded to know, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?”, while a second assailant also chased and beat him. As the assailant pummeled and kicked Rather, he kept repeating the question over and over again. In describing the incident, Rather said, “I got mugged. Who understands these things? I didn’t and I don’t now. I didn’t make a lot of it at the time and I don’t now. I wish I knew who did it and why, but I have no idea.”
Until the crime was resolved years later, Rather’s description of the bizarre crime led some to doubt the veracity of Rather’s account, although the doorman and building supervisor who rescued Rather fully confirmed his version of events. The story entered popular lore and remained unsolved for some time. In 1994 the band R.E.M. released the song “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” on the album Monster. Rather was a good sport about it, and actually sang with R.E.M. during a soundcheck prior to a gig at Madison Square Garden, New York, which was shown the following night on the Late Show with David Letterman.
If you were watching David Letterman’s show on September 18, 1985, back when it was still on NBC and called Late Night with David Letterman, you saw a bit of TV history being made.
On that night, Letterman introduced his first “Top Ten” list. And, it all started almost 30 years ago, with the very first Letterman Top Ten List, the “Top Ten Things That Almost Rhyme With Peas.”
Here they are, in descending order:
And, the number one word that almost rhymes with peas is (drumroll):
A solid 5 minutes of a 21-year-old Dave Letterman and his broadcast from April Fool’s Day 1969 on WAGO-AM, the closed-circuit radio station he helped to found at his future alma mater, Ball State University. Note the woman he calls on the phone in this segment – that’s Michelle Cook, the very first Mrs. Letterman.
Via Open Culture
On Sunday evening, The Simpsons said farewell to David Letterman, who had announced his retirement from late night television, with a special Late Show couch gag. Instead of hopping onto their couch at home, The Simpsons landed at the Ed Sullivan Theater and took a seat next to Dave.