Letterman: Paul Newman

Before I considered devoting a week's worth of posts to David Letterman, I intended to share this story. For some time, I have been fascinated by the evolution of Dave's relationship with a personal hero of mine, Paul Newman. For the uninitiated, I wrote a lengthy piece a couple years ago about Mr. Newman, and I have for many years prior and since emulated Paul. I read anything I can to learn more about the man's many efforts, I revisit his incredible film career, and by that virtue I model aspects

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Letterman: Signature, circa 1981.

"I think I'm just nervous all the time. I'm never really relaxed." Late in 1981, Dave Letterman was the age that I am now, 34. His nationally televised morning show, The David Letterman Show, had been cancelled by NBC. When he sat down for this intensely personal interview on a short-lived CBS Cable program called Signature, he was a few months away from taping the first episode of a brand new type of program, Late Night with David Letterman, displacing Tom Snyder's 12:30AM Eastern time show, Tomorrow Coast to Coast. Before Late Night would come to define the era,

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Letterman: Bill Murray

It's about a three hour drive on I-65 from Indianapolis to Chicago, but with brands of humor so similarly absurd, affable, and audacious, Bill Murray and Dave Letterman might as well have grown up in one another's backyards. Over the past thirty-three years, before our very eyes, the two have developed an incredible rapport, one that inherently grew from an increasingly intrinsic relationship. Were there no Dave, all we'd have are Bill's rather transactional appearance's on Johnny's show (sidenote: how about Akroyd and Murray's cowboy boots)? And without the occasion of

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Letterman: Kennedy Center Honors

"For David Letterman, this is unquestionably the single worst night of his life. Look at him, I know he's smiling, but that medal hanging around his neck: there's a 40% chance he'll hang himself with it." - Jimmy Kimmel At the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, David Letterman was honored for his Herculean television achievements. There are so many fat pitches in this seventeen minute clip ("Tina, does Dave talk to you?"), and it's worth watching the entire thing, if only to watch Dave squirm sitting next to the Led Zeppelin boys. And a selfish in-joke: for

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Letterman: Tom Waits

Before I knew anything about Tom Waits, I knew Dave was a massive fan. Waits has appeared on one or the other of Letterman's shows ten times. It wasn't until I saw Down By Law, Jim Jarmusch's pulp fiction, jail break picture starring Waits, that I understood Dave's fascination. From watching Jarmusch's black-and-white, soupy bayou yarn about three escaped convicts, I could tell implicitly why Dave did everything he could for Tom. For Waits, like Dave, is this somewhat reclusive, creative, punkish American everyman, able to speak to the people of his

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Letterman: Julia Roberts & The Roses

Who cares if this was staged? It is awesome to watch Julia Roberts flatly call him out for failing to send flowers, and then like clockwork, watch as Pat Farmer strolls in with roses. Then at 6:45, all hell breaks loose. Part One of her first appearance on Late Night. Freshly turned 22, she was there to promote Steel Magnolias in 1989. And a pig. And a dog. And my personal favorite: Roberts revealed in 1993, after the above appearance, she'd asked Dave to attend the premiere of Steel Magnolias with her. Fallon and Kidman,

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David Letterman

In the summer of 1993, I was twelve years old. It was the last summer I played baseball. It was the summer before I started at a new school, an all-boys school, one that molded my worldview as much as anything. I was a member of a whopping three swim teams. It was the first and last summer I played on an organized roller hockey team on an actual sport court in a city park. After all, it was 1993. And late in that summer, I became the world's biggest David

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