2008  2009  2010  2011  2012  2013 


Latest Entry

12/19/14 [4137]: Tonight there will be multiple audience shout outs to Marilyn Sargent. Here's some background.

Marilyn is a Dave fan from way back in the 80s. She's made the trip from Connecticut to be in the audience numerous times, and has met Dave. Marilyn's part of a very fortunate group of 20 fans, including me, who are part of DaveCon every May/June. For a number of years, Marilyn maintained "Marilyn's Pathetic Page," a Letterman fan page.

Beginning about Christmas 1996, she began writing her annual 'Twas My Night at the Late Show for fellow Letterman fans. These poems have been a wonderful combination of hilarious, sentimental and historically significant, because there's a new version every year. Each poem is filled with inside jokes and references, some of which will go right over the heads of casual fans. We've seen a couple of video versions, as well. Mike McIntee has been including her annual poem in the Wahoo Gazette in recent years.

Marilyn's loyalty to Dave and the show, along with her creativity and sense of humor, make her completely deserving of the attention she'll receive during audience duty tonight. With the author's permission, this year's 'Twas My Night at the Late Show is included at the end of today's episode log. Thanks, Marilyn! This year, Marilyn's friend, Nick, designed a professional, Christmas-themed folder to enclose her poem. She's friends with numerous Late Show staff, and she distributed them prior to the show. She then raised her hand in time to be called on for a preshow question with Dave, and passed one to him. Dave had a first look at the two-page poem during the audience preshow Q & A. It'll be seen on the air in Act 2. (video)

Marilyn and Cheryl Levenbrown (who sat beside her, and as a New York Times copy editor, edited her poem) were given tickets to the show by a writer friend who shall not be named, Steve Young. We became acquainted with Steve a few years ago, thanks in part to his daily CelebriGum guest photos site, and as he co-authored his impressive book on big-business advertising promotions, Everything's Coming Up Profits. Marilyn and Cheryl visited with Steve after the taping.

Cheryl has also had her moments of fame. In June 2014, she got Dave's attention in the preshow Q & A, and asked for suggestions on where to move, as her place in Brooklyn was going away. Dave had Donald Trump as a guest about a half hour later, and Cheryl got a phony commitment from Donald to help find her a new apartment. So... now you know the background of tonight's audience shout outs.

Here's Dave with Marilyn's first shout out, just as he begins the monologue: "Let me ask you a question. Have you recently written a poem about the show?"



"I tell you. I still get very sentimental during the holidays. I know everybody does. We're feeling the same way. And I was thinkin' backstage... Do you remember when you found out there was no Santa Claus? Remember that? I was so upset... my hand to God, this is a true story. I was so upset, I didn't think I'd be able to do the show."

"If you take these jokes up to the 4th floor, they'll wrap 'em for you."

"Ever been shopping up on Madison Avenue? Whoa! You folks go up there? Very swank. I mean, the revolving doors have a First and Coach... class."

"The Hello Deli... our friend Rupert, just around the corner at the Hello Deli, right now offering his Hanukkah special. Yes, they've figured out a way to make the tuna salad last eight days."

"Ohhh! It's the first day of winter! When did that happen? Oh, my God! That thing on Trump's head got its winter coat."

••• Dave saw something odd and interesting on ESPN earlier today that he wants us to see. / video:
(clip): guys seated around a table... looks like a poker game in progress, but what's that sound?

(clip): We hear and see a little wooden dreidel spinning awkwardly to a stop.

(audience gasp)

(colorful graphic and voice-over): "The World Series of Dreidel will continue in a moment."

••• Here's Dave's next shout out to Marilyn, just after the dreidel joke. "Not too late to put that in your poem, Carolyn." (Dave hears something. He looks over at the CBSO. "Huh?" Will Lee, who knows Marilyn, corrects Dave on her name!) ••• Oh, fine! The North Koreans have hacked a computer system at the North Pole. They're going to get all of us before they're done. Let's watch "North Pole Emails." / video:
(title graphic and "Sleigh Ride")

(Photoshop fun): "HACKED" over the title graphic

(voice-over): "Blitzen wants to know if he can have Chanukah off."

(title graphic and "Sleigh Ride")


"North Pole Emails" / video:

(title graphic and "Sleigh Ride")

(Photoshop fun): "HACKED" over the title graphic

(voice-over): "We had a little mishap with the jigsaw. There's elf all over the place."

(title graphic and "Sleigh Ride")

••• Great news! The Republican National Committee has a great idea for Christmas. / video:
(Christmas graphic and music)

(female voice-over): "Just in time for Christmas, the RNC is proud to offer the official Vice-President Dick Cheney cowboy hat."

(photo): Cheney wearing a cowboy hat, out on the range

(voice-over continues): "This limited-edition hat is engraved with the former vice-president's signature, especially lined with the Republican seal, and is fully waterproofed, for use in enhanced interrogation."

(Photoshop fun): Cartoon bad guy pouring water from the aforementioned hat onto a prisoner's face (cowboy waterboarding)

(voice-over): "It's this year's must-have holiday gift. The Vice-President Dick Cheney cowboy hat. Available at GOP.com, and participating CIA black sites."

••• Alan Kalter with Big Show Highlights and, "Attention Shoppers! Now's the time to make your best deal on a new 2014 calendar." / a plug for Ford ••• We see the first of a series of Christmas greetings to family at home from soldiers around the world. This one is from a group at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. •••

desk chat:

  • Dave and Paul recall trying to get to Bagram from Kandahar years ago, when they'd go to the Middle East at Christmas time. Sometimes Biff went along, and Nadine, too.

  • Now Dave picks up Marilyn's poem and says, "This is delightful," and reads it for 23 seconds. He mutters, "Must be a way I can make some money off this." (Paul): "An audience member wrote a poem." (Dave): "A lovely poem, and this looks like something that would be handed out to you at midnight mass. 'Here you are.' "
••• We've missed several years, but it's time for Paul's final Cher impression.
Paul takes us back to The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, which ran from 1971-74. For their Christmas special in 1973, Cher was dressed in almost completely red, with a full-length red coat, a huge, gaudy red hat, and her hands in a black muff, as she stood in several inches of fake snow. I'm watching video of this performance of "O Holy Night" as I write this. It was not critically acclaimed. (video) Paul never fails to mention that William Conrad was a guest, singing and being jolly. Also, Paul never fails to mention the muff. Here's YouTube video of Paul's awesome impression. (Could anyone on earth have been a better musical director and sidekick for Dave all these 32+ years? Of course not.)
••• Top Ten Things You Don't Want to Hear on Christmas Morning

10. "Freeze--FBI!"
9. "Something's moving in the tree."
8. "He left the cookies and milk, but the TV is gone."
7. "There's a caroler frozen on the porch."
6. "Did you get a long, rambling poem about the Late Show, too?" (another shout out to Marilyn Sargent)
5. "My stocking has a foot in it."
4. "Do you smell singed hair?"
3. "Santa left a photo he took of us sleeping."
2. "No, no, no, I said hug Grandma and water the tree."
1. "Just messing with you kids--give the presents back."

(YouTube video)


Alright! It's time for Jay Thomas... here for his Lone Ranger story and Quarterback Challenge. If you've not gotten the memo, Dave has long proclaimed that Jay's Lone Ranger story is the best talk show story of all time.

If you'd like to go back in history, I have about a half dozen of these in my Video Archives. Look under the Js. My favorite has to be the 2011 version, which includes a video reenactment, starring Jay, Todd Seda, Dave and the tough guy who also played Dr. Arnold Scanlan of the CDC. (video)

Jay begins by informing Dave that he's "never been so glad" that this is the last time he'll have to tell this story. Back in the day, Jay used to open car dealerships. He and his pal, Mike Martin, were on a job, and this time, Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger, was there, too, to sign autographs. Mr. Martin, at the time, "looked like David Lee Roth before he cleaned up his act." Jay and Mike got herbed-up, resulting in "eyes rolling like BBs in a boxcar." After the gig, it was time to hop in Jay's 10-year-old Volvo and go, and they realized that Clayton Moore (who would have been 100 years old on Sept. 14) had no ride. He accepted the offer to join them, riding in the back seat. Traffic was terrible. Eventually another driver, hoping to find an escape route, backed into Jay's heap and broke a headlight, then floored it and took off. Feeling no pain, and lacking in critical thinking skills at the moment, Jay got in a car chase with the perp, eventually getting him stopped. The tough guy got out of the car, unapologetic and unwilling to take responsibility for the wreck. He added insult to injury by smarting off to the herbed-up pair about the credibility of "you two hippie freaks" vs. his own. Who would believe their version? Then Clayton Moore, in full Lone Ranger uniform, had heard enough. He exited the back seat and delivered the now-legendary line, "They'll believe me, Citizen." (YouTube video)

It's time for the Quarterback Challenge. This story goes back to 12/30/98 [1141], when Jay and Vinny were guests that night. Jay had been on, but was hanging around backstage. Dave and Vinny were having a Quarterback Challenge, trying to take out the item at the top of the tree. Jay tells us that the item was a meatball, but my episode log refers to a pastrami sandwich. I can't tell from the video. Anyway, Dave and Vinny, the 1986 Heisman Trophy winner, weren't hitting. Jay wanted to try his luck, but Mr. Biff Henderson wouldn't let him back onstage, so Jay faked a move and got past Biff. Jay came out and nailed it on the first try!!!

In tonight's competition, Dave throws three times, with the second making glancing contact. Jay throws four airballs, and nails it on the fifth try. And yes, this was a giant meatball, which had been stuck on the top a souvenir Empire State Building. There was no sandwich to be seen. As Jay leaves the stage, he shakes Dave's hand and says, "I'll never see you again!" (YouTube video)

Josh Brolin is on to tell about two movies. Everest, which is in post-production for fall 2015, and Inherent Vice, which opens in January. IMDB: "In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry 'Doc' Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend." This is the film Joaquin Phoenix was on to plug not long ago.

Mount Everest climbs have been documented many times, including two different films entitled Into Thin Air. Josh did all kinds of preparation for his work, including mountain climbing in Switzerland. Climbing Everest is incredibly dangerous. It's 29,029 feet above sea level in Nepal. Most climbers carry oxygen, although people have been known to climb it without oxygen. Josh says from 25,000 feet to the peak, you're basically dying (without carrying oxygen). You can't focus, and your judgment is worthless. The first weather station's report, when newly put in service on Everest, reported -17° C (1° F).

Of Joaquin Phoenix, Josh says you're sometimes not sure if you're talking to him, or a character he's playing. (Dave can attest to that!) Joaquin carries a little dog with him, like Paris Hilton. That's hot.

Darlene Love sits down with Dave briefly, before her big performance. Although she recorded "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" in 1963, she didn't sing it that much until she started doing it on Dave's shows. Her first performance was on 12/16/86, on Late Night. We didn't get to hear her sing it again until 12/23/94, on the Late Show. With the exception of the 2007 writers' strike (Bill Scheft, strike captain), she's sung it every year since, and this will be her 21st performance. Darlene will sing it again, but she has announced that she'll never sing it on another talk show. Here's YouTube video of Darlene's interview.

I didn't know Darlene Love by name in the 1960s, but I sure knew who The Ronettes and The Crystals were. I was 13 when she recorded "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)." Darlene had only sung the big song for Dave once when we saw her as Trish Murtaugh on the first Lethal Weapon. I'm one who appreciates loyalty and tradition, and Darlene sure has demonstrated those qualities in coming back to Dave's house 21 times. I can't make it through one of the annual performances without getting misty.

She's been at the heart of what unquestionably will go down as the greatest Late Show tradition. But... let's never fail to recognize the role of Paul Shaffer, a musical genius, in producing and developing this over the years, doing change-ups from year to year, booking great back-up singers and the orchestra, etc. Here's YouTube video of the first performance in 1986... just Darlene and the four members of the WMDB, but it still rocked. Also, I want to recognize Sid McGinnis, Anton Fig and Will Lee, who have been together in the WMDB and the CBSO since Anton signed on in May, 1986. Each has played a major role in the excellence of the CBS Orchestra, and I can't imagine the Late Show without any of them. Finally, how about a shout out to Bette Sussman, who's come in year after year to play chimes on Paul's synthesizer for the big event.

Thanks so much, Darlene. We all love you!

••• Don't miss this. Wahoo Mike McIntee reports that the setup for Darlene's performance took about 20 minutes. To entertain the audience in the interim, Paul and the CBSO (with the great Will Lee singing) do The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." It's too awesome to describe, so look at the YouTube video! ••• Darlene Love sings "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)." (YouTube video)

Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)
by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and Phil Spector

The snow's coming down
I'm watching it fall
Lots of people around
Baby, please come home

The church bells in town
All ringing in song
What a happy sound
Baby, please come home

They're singing "Deck the Halls"
But it's not like Christmas at all
Cuz I remember when you were here
And all the fun we had last year

Pretty lights on the trees
I'm watching them shine
You should be here with me
Baby, please come home

(saxophone solo)

They're singing "Deck the Halls"
But it's not like Christmas at all
Cuz I remember when you were here
And all the fun we had last year

If there was a way
I'd hold back this tear
But it's Christmas day
Baby, please come home
Baby, please come home
Baby, please come home
Baby, please come home

'Twas My Night at the Late Show — The Final Edition
by Marilyn Sargent

My last night at the "Late Show" and all through the Ed,
Memories were stirring in my heart and my head.
I looked with nostalgia at the desk and the chair,
That soon would be taken by Stephen Colbert.
The audience was wistful and snug in their seats,
With show-and-tell visions of variety meats
When there, in the theater, I started to chatter
Folks gathered around to see what was the matter.
More rapid than dingoes, my gratitude came.
So I whistled, and shouted, and thanked them by name:

"Thanks, Dorothy. Thanks, Shecky. Thanks, Morty and Biff,
Next time you're thrown a football, try not to whiff.
Thanks, Gerard Mulligan, you've done it in style.
Thanks, Jude, Sue and Inky. And I can't forget Lyle.
Thanks to the writers, like Steve, Matt, Bill and Joe.
Gaines, Nancy, Maria, and girls who 'Hi Ho!'
Thanks, Hal, Harold, George Clarke for all that you do,
And thank you, Mike McIntee, you've made us 'Wahoo!'
Eddie Brill and the Stangels, Mujibur, Sirajul,
And the CBS Orchestra (past and present) all rule.
Thanks, digital media guys, Walter and Jay
Stuck in the web, but I'm being told they're O.K.
To the whole staff and crew, thanks for the laughter
Lassally, Favale and good luck Hereafter.
Thanks to all interns who've made the show greater.
Laugh about that now. Think about it later.
Thanks, Kay, Ray and Bethany, thanks, Dr. Aronne,
Rupert, thanks for the meat. And that's no bologna.
Thank you, Chris Elliott — always good for a howl,
Thanks, Michele and Kathleen, with her mouth so foul.
Thanks, Gene, take time off. Thanks, Todd, for the cues.
It couldn't be easy filling big Cuban shoes.
Thanks, Dave Dorsett, cameraman extraordinaire,
'We Made This Show' Rob and the 'Late Show' Bear.
Thanks, Johnny and Merrill, for their inspiration,
Thanks, Graham Fenwick-Jones, the king of translation.
Thanks, Pat and Kenny, for each transcript spoof
And all of the things you have thrown off the roof.
Thanks, Gary, for manning the genius switch,
Thanks, 'Who Gives a Rat's Ass' Pete Fatovich.
Thanks, Marv and Jack Hanna, a wacky, wild sight.
And monkey/rock, those guys? I mean, am I right?
Friends Reeg, Randall, Murray, there were none kinder,
And thanks, Johnny Dark, and the girl with the grinder.
Martin Short and Steve Martin, more big-show amigos,
Thanks for remembering. Thanks for the egos.
Thanks, Darlene and Jay Thomas for the traditions,
Thanks to the guests, the comics and the musicians.
Thanks, Les, Foley, Tepper and Calvert DeForest,
And thank you to Letterman's lemon tree florist.
Thanks, Wendell, then Kalter, Big Red warmup ANNOUNCER!"
I think I was too loud because then came the bouncer.

For there, like a man on fire, right in my face,
Was the unamused presence of one Bill DeLace.
"Get out," he shouted, and "Stop all that thanking."
I was one Stupid Human Trick away from a spanking.
I drew in my breath, but I'd deal with this Foo,
I thought, "Is This Anything?" and then I thanked him, too.

And thanks AFL, for although the show ends
I know for a Fun Fact we'll always be friends.
Because no Charts and Graphs -- no Quiz Machine, too,
Could measure the Top 10 Things We've All Been Through.
We know our cuts of meat and if they'll sink or float.
We've all watched Paul Shaffer in a cape and a coat.
We need no intuitive, like that Deborah Lynn
To be certain it never was Lance on that Schwinn.

Now I'd better not cry, and I'll try not to pout,
As I now thank the person the whole show is about.
You filled our comedy stockings night after night
Our Worldwide Pants will no longer fit right.
From Warren to Farrah to Drew on the desk,
Even in times of trouble, you were the best.
No more dog-and-pony show to delight and inspire
But we wish you much happiness as you retire.
So please hear me exclaim as you move out of sight,
"Thank YOU, David Letterman." And to all a good night.

Do you have a question about a Late Night or Late Show episode? Send me an e-mail, and I'll try to help. I have partial logs from Feb. 1, 1982 on, and have logged every show since Dec. 2, 1985.

Each Friday night, the week's five new logs are pasted into a master file, containing all 4,000+ entries, covering all 20 years on CBS. The file's now over 1,000,000 words, and 1,900 pages. If you're interested, have a look at a database I made that shows new episode and repeat breakdowns for each year on CBS.

Be sure to read the official episode logs from Worldwide Pants, Inc., the Wahoo Gazette. You can also go back in the Wahoo archives, to read Mike McIntee's write-up for every Late Show, starting with January 1, 2002. Click in the Search By Date box to select an episode.

This episode guide is © David Yoder.
All rights reserved.