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David Letterman

Paul Shaffer formed what soon became dubbed The World’s Most Dangerous Band back in 1982 and, for over three decades, they ruled the late night musical landscape. After a 24-year gap since their first album, “The World’s Most Dangerous Party” produced by Todd Rundgren, the eponymous PAUL SHAFFER & THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS BAND features appearances by an all-star pan-demographic lineup including guest vocalists Dion, Jenny Lewis, Bill Murray, Darius Rucker, Shaggy, and Valerie Simpson. Shaffer and bandmates Will Lee and Felicia Collins round out the lead vocal duties.

PAUL SHAFFER & THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS BAND will be available from Sire Records on March 17 on CD. The collection will also be released digitally. The group will tour behind the album with a string of shows that begins on April 1 in New York.

Shaffer played keyboards in the “Saturday Night Live” house band during the show’s paradigm-shifting first five seasons (becoming a featured on-camera player as well, e.g. his iconic impression of rock impresario Don Kirshner) before forming what Letterman soon named The World’s Most Dangerous Band in 1982 when he became musical director and sidekick on “Late Night With David Letterman.” After more than a decade on NBC, Shaffer and the band departed for CBS for a new show (“Late Show With David Letterman.” Although the band changed their name to “The CBS Orchestra”, the core lineup remained the same, adding Felicia Collins on guitar as well as a horn section.

All in all, Shaffer and the group spent over three decades living up to the band’s original name as they played to millions of television viewers five nights a week. Now, for the first time in 25 years, Shaffer and the band have re-claimed the moniker of The World’s Most Dangerous Band, recorded their first album together in 24 years, and will be embarking on a North American tour this spring in support of the release. Joining Shaffer are Felicia Collins (guitar), Anton Fig (drums), Will Lee (bass), and Sid McGinnis (guitar), with Tom Malone, Frank Greene, and Aaron Heick (horns).

“Getting to record with a band which has played together for several decades was magical. We’re so comfortable playing together, we finish each other’s licks!” says Shaffer. “The wonderful friends, old and new, who guested on vocals were a dream come true for us. They poured their hearts and souls into our music, and we thank them profusely.”

The new album was produced by Richard Gottehrer, whose career writing and producing music began in the early Sixties at the Brill Building, and executive produced by Seymour Stein. Together with Jerry Goldstein and Bob Feldman, Gottehrer wrote several massive hits, including “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “Hang On Sloopy.” The trio also wrote “Sorrow,” a song recorded by a number of artists, including David Bowie for his 1973 covers album, Pin Ups. On this album, singer Jenny Lewis joins the band for a heartfelt, tranquil version of the track, dedicated to Bowie.

Bill Murray has a long history with Shaffer, who played piano for his popular “Saturday Night Live” character Nick the Lounge Singer, and last year served as MC for the actor’s Netflix special “A Very Murray Christmas”, for which he received his fourth EMMY nomination. On the new album, Murray and Shaffer team up once again on a freewheeling romp through “Happy Street.”

The talented band puts a tropical spin on Vince Guaraldi’s Grammy-winning track “ Cast Your Fate To The Wind” with a little help from rapper Shaggy, and then switches gears to lay down a slinky groove for Darius Rucker’s cover of Timmy Thomas’ hit “Why Can’t We Live Together,” a song that’s been covered by everyone from Santana to Sade.

PAUL SHAFFER AND THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS BAND
CD Track Listing
“Cast Your Fate To The Wind” – featuring Shaggy
“Why Can’t We Live Together” – featuring Darius Rucker
“Sorrow” – featuring Jenny Lewis
“Yeh Yeh” – featuring Paul Shaffer
“Win Your Love For Me” – featuring Dion
“Happy Street” – featuring Bill Murray
“Some Kind Of Wonderful” – featuring Felicia Collins
“Rhythm” – featuring Leo Napier
“I Don’t Need No Doctor” – featuring Valerie Simpson & Felicia Collins
“Enjoy The Ride” – featuring Will Lee
“Just Because” – featuring Paul Shaffer
“Wigwam”

PAUL SHAFFER AND THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS BAND
Tour Dates
(More To Be Announced Soon)
APRIL
1 The Clemens Center Elmira, NY
2 The Palace Theater Greensburg, PA
8 The Borgata Atlantic City, NJ
20 Fallsview Casino Resort Niagara Falls, ONT
21 The Wellmont Theater Montclair, NJ
22 Theater At Westbury Westbury, NY
MAY
3 Centrepoint Theatre Ottawa, ONT
4 Wilbur Theater Boston, MA
6 Ridgefield Playhouse Ridgefield, CT
JUNE
9 Ryman Theater Nashville, TN
10 Seminole Casino Immokalle, FL
11 Cobb Energy PAC Atlanta, G
29 Kresge Auditorium Interlochen, MI
30 Arcada Theater St. Charles, IL
JULY
1 Ames Center Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

New York Times: You featured Donald Trump on your programs many times over the years. What perspective has that given you on his presidential candidacy?

David Letterman: I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time, and I always thought he was exactly what New York City needed to have: the big blowhard billionaire. “By God, I’m Donald Trump, and I date models, and I put up buildings, and everything is gold.” Nobody took him seriously, and people loved him when he would come on the show. I would make fun of his hair, I would call him a slumlord, I would make fun of his ties. And he could just take a punch like nothing. He was the perfect guest.

So now, he decides he’s running for president. And right out of the box, he goes after immigrants and how they’re drug dealers and they’re rapists. And everybody swallows hard. And they think, oh, well, somebody will take him aside and say, “Don, don’t do that.” But it didn’t happen. And then, I can remember him doing an impression, behind a podium, of a reporter for The New York Times who has a congenital disorder. And then I thought, if this was somebody else — if this was a member of your family or a next-door neighbor, a guy at work — you would immediately distance yourself from that person. And that’s what I thought would happen. Because if you can do that in a national forum, that says to me that you are a damaged human being. If you can do that, and not apologize, you’re a person to be shunned.

Via

Over a year and half after leaving his Late Show , David Letterman returns to television to host an upcoming episode of National Geographic’s climate change series Years of Living Dangerously. Letterman’s episode features his travels to India to examine how that nation provides energy to its entire population. I know what you’re thinking…Wait…What? Don’t worry, he really hasn’t changed.

The second season of Years of Living Dangerously premieres on National Geographic on October 30th.

David Letterman on YEARS of LIVING DANGEROUSLY from YEARS of LIVING DANGEROUSLY on Vimeo.

David Letterman is heading back to TV, but he’s leaving the desk behind. The longtime late-night TV personality will appear on the second season of the Emmy-winning documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, which centers on the issue of climate change. This marks Letterman’s first TV project since signing off as host of CBS’ Late Show in May.

Producers Joel Bach and David Gelber talked to The Hollywood Reporter about how Letterman came on board, explaining that they decided to reach out to him after seeing his passion for the issue when he interviewed scientists on the Late Show.

“It’s thrilling to have him do this — we’re beyond excited,” Bach says. “The reason why Letterman’s part of this is that we just noticed that he seemed to perk up when this issue came across his lap. We reached out to him to see if he’d want to be part of this, and he said, ‘Absolutely.’ He said [that climate change is] something he does think about a lot.”

Letterman will appear on one of the new season’s eight episodes, as he’ll head to India to speak with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the nation’s energy concerns.

Via The Hollywood Reporter

For every comedy bit produced, there were roughly a hundred pitches that didn’t make it. So I asked fellow Late Night and Late Show vets to recall their most memorable rejections. Then I ran some of those by Dave, who was happy to reminisce about former writers.

“I can’t thank these men and women enough,” he said, “because I was doing their show more than they were doing mine.”

GERARD MULLIGAN (1980–2004)

One rejected joke that I really wish had made it to air: “So, the Congress is debating whether to spend billions on a so-called stealth bomber that would be invisible to Soviet radar. Why don’t we just say we built it?” But I look back on some other rejections with relief: Halloween costume: “That thing on Aaron Neville’s forehead.” Typing that, I wince now, as I should have winced then.

Some things were written to be rejected. Occasionally I would hand in an opening remark so vulgar it would have sent NBC’s Margaret Dumont–like standards-and-practices lady out of Studio 6A on a stretcher. I was safe in the knowledge that Dave would never do the joke on air. (“The American Medical Association issued this warning today: Be wary of a doctor who tries to take your temperature with his dick.”) Imagine my surprise when, during that night’s taping, Dave began, “This warning today from the American Medical Association …” but then concluded, “with his finger.”

ANDY BRECKMAN (1982–1983; creator–executive producer, Monk)

I remember trying to convince Dave and (head writer) Merrill Markoe to do an entire show where Dave and his guests are hooked up to lie detectors. I remember being very excited about this. We’d be making talk-show history! Merrill had to talk me down and explain how potentially embarrassing it could be for everybody.

To be fair, it was a long time ago and this could be what therapists call a “false memory.” I’ve had them before. For example, I also distinctly remember leading the Seal Team that killed bin Laden.

Letterman: Well, I don’t remember this idea. It sounds fantastic. And I’ll tell you, I know where he got the idea. There used to be a show called Lie Detector and there was a polygraph machine and this guy was an expert … his name was Ed Gelb. He would put the guy in the chair and grill him. And I think this would be tremendous. I would love to see somebody do this. So in this case I think Merrill was taking a bullet for me. Because if anyone had anything to hide, of course, it would’ve been me.

GEORGE MEYER (1982–1984; The Simpsons)

One idea I wish Dave had rejected was when we invited audience members to create fishing lures out of pipe cleaners, sequins, etc. The plan was to test them out on live trout and see which one got the most “action.”

Shortly before we taped the show, the trout perished. (Apparently they need cold, aerated water.) I didn’t know what to do, so the prop lady and I got some of those pointy things you stick memos on and jammed the poor fish on them in a preposterous simulation of life. Later, the contestants tried to entice these expired creatures in a macabre piece of absurdist art.

How I longed for the soothing arms of Sweet Lady H!

Letterman: I think George was responsible for maybe the single most brilliant idea on the show ever. It was a contest between a humidifier and a dehumidifier. And at the start of the show they would be switched on simultaneously, and at the end of the show we would see which of the machines had done its designed task more productively. As I recall, the problem was that the noise made by these machines just ruined the audio for the rest of the show.

Read more stories at Vulture

File video of David Letterman on WTHR, which was then under the call letters WLWI, giving a weather forecast, how to measure a tree and hosting his show “Clover Power.”