DDY's Late Show in Review: 2015
— a work in progress —




"This man has influenced every host who came after him, and even a few who came before him. He's that good! And I've gotta tell you, I do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair."
– Stephen Colbert, April 10, 2014

The Most Memorable Guests of 2015

Feb. 3: Dr. Phil McGraw plugged his weight loss book, and then the adventures of being a parent. It was informative, funny and completely entertaining. ••• Feb. 5: Martin Short is always great. He opens with his musical number, "Fly Me Through This Room." ••• Feb. 10: Chris Elliott plugs Schitt's Creek, emotionally thanks Dave for his career and closes with "To Dave, with Love." ••• Feb. 12: Tom Hanks, who we learn is crazy about typewriters, had an awesome 23 minutes with Dave. ••• Feb. 17: The lovely Dakota Johnson asked Dave, "Are you my dad?" ••• Mar. 18: A veteran of at least 25 appearances with Dave, Norm Macdonald had a hilarious interview, concluding with a discussion of the great George Miller (and the Dan Fogelberg story). Ken Tucker wrote, "Letterman and Macdonald demonstrate how a talk show should work." ••• Apr. 24: Jerry Seinfeld taking over Dave's desk for the retirement talk was great stuff! ••• Apr. 28: Michael Keaton, Dave's friend since the 70s, came with great stories and video of Dave dancing on Mary Tyler Moore's show in 1978. •••

The Best Musical Guests of 2015

Jan. 5: Lera Lynn was a wonderful first musical guest of 2015. Her style reminded me of Sheryl Crow. (video) ••• Jan. 13: You can read a transcript of Dave's one-of-a-kind pep talk and introduction of St. Paul and the Broken Bones in my episode log, or watch the video. Their song, "Call Me," was inspired by Wilson Pickett's "634-5789," and these boys blew the roof off the dump! Dave called for an encore. ••• Feb. 10: Chris Elliott, in possibly his last appearance with Dave, sang "To Dave, with Love," which will never get by music critics, but will be remembered for its significance, along with Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" on the last Late Night. ••• Feb. 18: Before sitting down for his interview, Will Smith rapped part of "Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It" (video) ••• Mar. 11: Stevie Wonder sang "I Wish" with the CBSO. (video) ••• Mar. 31: Houndmouth performed "Sedona" from their new album, "Little Neon Limelight." ••• Apr. 16: For Harry, Tracy Chapman performs "Stand by Me." (video) ••• Apr. 17: John Mayer sang "American Pie" as a favor to Dave. Not just for 2015... this will go down as one of the best-ever musical performances on the Late Show. (video) ••• Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires perform Warren Zevon's "Mutineer." (YouTube) ••• Apr. 27: John Mellencamp was an interview guest, and sang a wonderful song, "Longest Days," as his goodbye to Dave. ••• May 4: The Avett Brothers and Brandi Carlile sing "Keep on the Sunny Side of Life." It was tremendous! ••• May 7: First Aid Kit from Sweden sang Simon and Garfunkel's "America" for Harry. (YouTube)

Fun with Staff

Jan. 6: There was powerful overacting in store for us when Alan Kalter learns that Pope Francis has auctioned off an expresso machine Alan sent him. Big Red never disappoints! (video) ••• Jan. 9: Dave notices Todd Seda playing in his new cue card fort. ••• Jan. 9: Joe Grossman courageously sampled drinking water that the high-tech gadget onstage can distill from human waste... provided it's plugged in. (video) ••• Feb. 6: Rupert Jee sang Grammy-nominated songs he'd never heard, using an iPod. (video) ••• Mar 12: Joe Grossman and R.J. Fried stroll onstage with their lovely "wives." (video) ••• Mar. 13: It's Rupert Jee in "Rupert Jee's Comedy Corner!" (video) ••• Mar. 17: Pat Farmer interrupts the St. Patrick's Day monologue to inform Dave that he's a saint. His miracle was putting up with Dave's BS for 22 years. Nice goin', Pat! ••• Mar. 18: Steve Young presents his March Madness Preview! (video) ••• Mar. 24: Todd Seda is dispatched to pick up a rocking chair for Dave's retirement in "Todd in Kankakee." (video) ••• Apr. 1: Mike McIntee and Eddie Valk star in the Late Show's version of Finding Jesus. (video) ••• Apr. 13: It's Mike Leech as Pea Boy, a character that dates back to at least 3/18/93! (video) ••• 32-year-old intern Todd Seda amazes us by leaping over a conference room table, upstairs in the Ed. (video) ••• Apr. 21: Todd Seda wins the Pulitzer Prize! (video) ••• Apr. 21: In a look back to the 2/27/06 episode, we see Alan Kalter and Biff Henderson in The Kaltershank Redemption. I think we all assumed that Alan had done hard time, somewhere in his dark past. (video) ••• Apr. 24: We see a compilation of comedy clips with Biff Henderson over his 35 years with Dave (video) ••• Apr. 28: Rupert Jee presents the Top Ten Things I've Always Wanted to Say to Hello Deli Customers (video)

Music

Late Show Rough Cuts

Dave's Classic Desk Chats of 2015

  • Jan. 9: Dave's had enough of the Times Square ball drop. He proposes having Felix Baumgartner drop from space. (video)

  • Jan. 13: We've never seen Dave do anything like what he does before St. Paul and the Broken Bones' performance. He gives an awesome two-minute pep talk before they begin. You're not going to see this on any other talk show. (video)

  • Mar. 23: Paparazzi caught Dave running shoeless in St. Bart's, and a fun desk chat ensues. (video)

  • Mar. 25: A joke almost backfired. Dave tells about almost getting a child prodigy booted from Avery Fisher Hall. (video)



"Money Saving Tip: Drastically cut your monthly expenses by shoplifting."  – Alan Kalter, Jan. 9


Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May 
January
5We don't know how long it will last, but the writers are changing out Alan Kalter's intro every day. Today we hear "From The Hague, international city of peace and justice, it's the Late Show with David Letterman."
5Dave has a fun desk chat. It's focused on the New Year's Eve ball drop at Times Square. Our host has grown weary of it, but in his position as a national leader, he offers a solution: get Felix Baumgartner to fall from space and land in Times Square. If it's successful, it'll be OK. If it ends in catastrophe, what a great show it will be! (video)
6Big Red, Alan Kalter, has become the king of over-the-top rants. Watch out if he's assigned to a segment without advance notice, or if he's wronged in some way. He'll fix you, but good. Just ask the dry cleaner who didn't properly press his pants. Well, tonight Alan learns that Pope Francis auctioned off an expresso machine that he sent the Holy Father. Alan expresses his disappointment with great wailing and moaning. (video)
6Allison Williams is a stunning and charming guest. She's back to review her live performance as Peter Pan last month, and to plug Girls on HBO. Allison offers to teach Dave how to fly like Peter Pan. Dave wonders if Allison will play Zorro next. (video)
7We'll have too many days like this in 2015. This may be the final visit with Marv Albert. He's brought the year-end compilation of the wild and wacky in the world of sports, the Albert Achievement Awards. Marv's been on Dave's shows so many times that there's disagreement on how many times. Dave announces it's his 126th time. (video)
8Donald Trump's in to plug Celebrity Apprentice. He and Dave visit about national and world affairs. No talk show host comes close to Dave with this kind of interview.
9Tonight's episode is spontaneous and fun throughout! During the monologue, Todd Seda distracts Dave as he plays in his brand new cue card fort. We're not sure if there's a framework in there, but the siding and roof are 100% used cue cards, recycled by Todd. It's a two-person fort, and Dave's lured in to have a visit, 'cause Todd has Mountain Dew. After a bit, Dave peeks out the door to throw to commercial. (cue card fort)
9In Act 2, Dave informs us that Bill Gates has brought scientists together to develop a machine to purify water from human waste. He's been good enough to loan the apparatus to the Late Show for the evening. Joe Grossman's been enlisted to sample the output and give us a report. Oops! Joe swishes a sample around his mouth like a connoisseur does with fine wine. Unfortunately, Joe forgot to plug in the contraption. (video)
9Our old friend, Jeff Goldblum, is in to plug Mortdecai. He and Dave goof around with his Fitbit, a high-tech pedometer, for a while. Along the way, Jeff mentions that his brand new wife, Emilie, was in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, in Rhythmic Gymnastics. (She represented Canada.) Dave and Jeff go backstage to invite Emilie out to demonstrate her amazing flexibility. She raises a leg up by her head and holds it there. Jeff's no slouch, either. He can wiggle his ears. (Emilie)
9Act 5 tonight skips the audience pan. Instead, we see Todd Seda, Joe Grossman and the Goldblums emerge from the cue card fort!
12Oh, dear. This is most unfortunate. A "Small Town News" entry is from the News Examiner of Connersville, Indiana. In an advertisement for Dr. Nanko, there's a wee misprint: "A new doctor in the area treats various conditions, including neck pain, back pain and dick herniation." Apparently the new doctor doesn't specialize in disks.

Later in the telecast, associate producer Mike McIntee plays the part of a UPS carrier who has a delivery for our host, Dick Herniation.

12Tonight we see an instant classic desk chat from Dave. It's a two-minute pep talk directed to the gents in tonight's band, St. Paul & the Broken Bones. Dave implores the guys to give it everything they've got as they play "Call Me." From their tweets afterward, it was clear that they loved the extra attention! (video: Dave, and then the band)
13monologue: Dave announces that tomorrow will mark 15 years since his quintuple bypass operation.
13Anderson Cooper has recently traveled to France to report on the Muslim murders of employees of a satirical publication there, after the Muslim religion was dissed. Dave believes that some day less-radical people of the religion will prevail. We shall see.
13Aubrey Plaza is a very fun guest. I don't know if her sense of humor is best described as dry, sarcastic or cynical, but she sure doesn't filter what she's thinking very much, and the result is pretty awesome. There's no sign that she cares what people think. She asks Dave if he'll hang out with her after retirement. Yes, he will, but no bowling. I tried to think if Aubrey reminded me of any past female guests. Sandra Bernhard came to mind. (interview video)

Aubrey is an anti-spokesperson in an ad for Newcastle Brown Ale that will run during the Super Bowl. They've put together an alliance of small businesses, Band of Brands, with the goal of getting them some advertising action during the big game. Be sure to see this video, which begins by spoofing those heartwarming ads you often see.

Watch for her later this year in Dirty Grandpa with Robert DeNiro, who plays a perverted former Army general.

14Today's the 15th anniversary of Dave's quintuple bypasses. He returned to the show five weeks later, thankful and emotional in his gratitude to the medical team who saved him. On February 23, the show aired a hilarous compilation of TV personalities who make fun of his troubles. (video)
14Beautiful, hypochondriacal Amanda Peet long ago became one of Dave's favorite guests. There's talk about the adventures of child rearing, and their appreciation for each other. (interview video)
15Larry David, who's about three months younger than Dave, has written a Broadway play, Fish in the Dark, set to open in March. Larry made the mistake of writing a lead character who he's best-suited to play, so he got recruited. Larry hates the theater, and implores Dave to not come and see it. (video)
15Dan Patrick is on to plug something-or-other, and takes the opportunity to give Dave the business for referring to him as a stooge when Adam Sandler was in a while back. Some web site tried to cook up a feud between Dan and Dave, but there doesn't seem to be much to it. Dave did make a passing reference to Dan as a stooge, and the interview tape proves it! (StoogeTube video)
16Ohio State won the NCAA Division I football championship on January 5. Coach Urban Meyer visits with Dave about recruiting, leadership of a diverse group of players and his opinion that players shouldn't be paid outright... just have expenses covered. Coach Meyer sure seems like the kind of man you'd want your son to play for. (video)
16Our friend Rupert Jee tells a joke about John Kerry's face, then does comedy sound effects a capella. There's no rim shot, but pretty much every other SFX. (video)
19It's the start of a week of repeats.
26This Monday show aired after 7" of snow. Up to 34" of snow had been forecast, and thousands of flights involving the Northeast were canceled. Andrew Luck and other guests had to cancel. The Late Show got through the week, even as Mayor de Blasio would shut down civilian traffic and the subways at 11 P.M. this evening.
26Louis C.K. has been selling out stand-up shows in Madison Square Garden. He's an interview guest tonight, however, and has funny stuff on the New England Patriots' deflated football scandal, and cheating in general. (YouTube)
26Nicolle Wallace, former communications director for George W. Bush and the McCain/Palin campaign, joined The View last fall. She reveres George W. Bush, and courageously agrees to sit down with Dave. She explains her role and her adventures as a communications director. While she thinks the world of W., she's surprisingly open with her opinion that Sarah Palin was and is way over her head in world affairs. Dave gives her 1½ segments.
27Kentucky Fried Chicken's Double Down Dog is a monologue and Top Ten target tonight, 'cause it's double the trouble to keep down. One site estimates the delicacy as 700 calories and 50 grams of fat. It's a wienie wrapped in a chicken fillet. Dave doesn't mention that it's only available now in the Philippine Islands!
27Supervising producer Kathy Mavrikakis interrupts Dave at his monologue mark, as everyone knows it's good to check on the elderly during a blizzard.
27Whoops! Whitney Cummings is in to plug her two-day gig as guest host of the Late Late Show. Dave wonders aloud why James Corden, "the tubby guy," is taking a while to show up to work. Somebody needs to send a fig tree.
28Dave got a call that originated around 7 A.M. California time, wanting to know why he referred to James Corden as "the tubby guy." He gives an Act 2 desk chat apology for his harmless three-word reference.

Paul chimes in to defend Dave's use of "tubby," because he's a "humorist." Paul continues with, "It's that Lettermanesque humor that you have always done. It's semi-mean, and you know, everybody thinks... that it's a lot of fun and that's what you were doing."

Dave reinforces his apology at the beginning of Act 3.

28Rachel Maddow's on the opposite side of the political spectrum from me, but she's always an engaging guest. Dave begins the interview by expressing his thanks for the Patriots' ball deflation scandal, as it's distracted the nation from the depressing state of world affairs. A ball handler took the Patriots' balls into a small restroom for a very short time, and Rachel did a timed simulation on her show. There was enough time behind closed doors to deflate most of the balls.

Rachel cautions that if Hillary Clinton is unchallenged in the Democratic primary, but ultimately isn't nominated, "It's going to be shake-the-silverware-drawer-over-your-head crazy." Her point is that the team won't be practiced up for the general election run.

29Nielsen Sweeps runs January 29 - February 25.
29monologue: "It was so cold here in the New York area today, Chris Christie was wearing two giant sweaters." Dave wants to know who wrote that joke. Joe Grossman emerges from backstage to confess. Dave wants more punch in his jokes. Joe calls out R.J. Fried to see what he can contribute. "Oh, God," Dave mutters. Will Dave be pleased with the do-over, or (as usual) give 'em the boot? If you don't know the answer, you need to study up a bit. (video) (Dave, with Paul chiming in): "I do, and do, and do for you kids, and this is the thanks I get."
29John Oliver's in to plug his HBO show. He begins by telling about getting tasered in Afghanistan, hoping to get a laugh. He did, so he called for another round of tasering! (YouTube) What's the Englishman's take on the Super Bowl, with fighter jets and "glitter hand grenades" thrown by Katy Perry? (YouTube)
30Dave informs us of a new beauty craze: having large snails crawl over your face. How is it that our friend Alan Kalter hasn't noticed the six snails cavorting around his face? When Dave calls attention to this, Alan, terrified, falls to the floor, moaning, wailing and calling for his mommy. There's nothing Alan won't do for his craft! (video)
30Guest Aziz Ansari took on Rupert Murdoch earlier this month. The media giant tweeted a call for all Muslims to stop jihadists. Aziz then posted a series of tweets that suggest that Murdoch's responsible for every evil act perpetrated by white people. You know... expensive college textbooks, car accidents, John Lennon's murder, the Ku Klux Klan... (#RupertsFault) (YouTube)

"Let your pill be Dr. Phil."  – David Letterman, Feb. 3
February
1Today marks 33 years in late night TV for Dave and Paul. I guess you could call it tomorrow if you're in the Eastern time zone.
2Todd Seda comes out to set up "Todd Seda at Super Bowl LXIX." He's perfect in these remotes, and as his predecessor Biff Henderson, he gets how to make them funny. Todd sings with fans, hangs with Miss America, gets a nearly-lethal chest bump from Ricardo Lockette, disses Dave with Les Moonves and makes confetti angels in the post-game celebration. (video)
2Jungle Jack Hanna is in with another fine group of varmints, including a groundhog to celebrate the holiday today. (video)
3America's favorite self-help guru, Dr. Phil McGraw, drops by to plug his latest offering, The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision Into Reality. He and Dave play nice, and give us an informative, engaging and funny interview. They spend much of the 19 minutes on weight loss, but also compare notes on being a good parent. Ironically, the first commercial during this segment was for Red Lobster®! (video)
4monologue: "Hey, how about Lance Armstrong, ladies and gentlemen? I'm tellin' you somethin'. I wouldn't give this guy's troubles to a monkey on a rock. He and his girlfriend are out havin' a party or somethin', and he accidentally bangs into two parked cars, and then he tells the cops that his girlfriend was driving. This is the kind of thing that could hurt the man's image. Cops took him downtown and frisked him, or, as they call it, The Tour de Lance."
5monologue: "You all remember Lance Armstrong, nine-time winner of the Tour de France, and he's had a lot of trouble. Here's a story. Over the weekend, he and his girlfriend were drivin' around, and they plowed into a parked car. And then they took off, and the cops got 'em, and Lance talked his girlfriend into sayin' she was drivin' the car... uh, to take the rap. So, actually, they wrote her a ticket. DWI: Driving with an Idiot."
5Hold onto your wigs and keys... Martin Short is in the house (or should be say over the house?). He's harnessed up like Peter Pan, and begins his segment with his obligatory musical number, "Fly Me Through This Room." (YouTube) Martin plugs his play with Ferris Bueller, It's Only a Play, and his 2014 memoir, I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend. I know countless fans sincerely thank Martin for all the fun moments on Dave's shows. (complete video)
6monologue: "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the program, and here we are, once again, in the beautiful Ed Sullivan Theater. Fifty-one years ago, The Beatles made their first appearance, right here, fifty-one years ago. Now look what you get."
6monologue: This year, the Grammy Awards... you'll get the... if you're a Grammy winner... you'll win a lovely Grammy statue, the beautiful phonograph statue... gold... beautiful. And, in addition to that, you'll also get the measles. By the way, Bruce Jenner... there's many interesting categories... Bruce Jenner... Bruce Jenner has been nominated for Best Remix."
6The Grammy Awards show will be on CBS this weekend. Mr. Show Business, my friend Rupert Jee, helps Worldwide Pants Incorporated avoid massive royalties by listening to the Best Song nominees on an iPod and singing 'em for us. Believe me, you will never forget this performance. (video)
6Sienna Miller is in to plug her play, Cabaret, one block away at the Studio 54 Theatre, as she takes over Emma Stone's part. While she's in the neighborhood, Dave also wants to talk about her incredible blockbuster, American Sniper, which has grossed $326,400,239 in three weeks, and hear some fun stories about being directed by Clint Eastwood.
9Whoa! Have you seen the trailer for the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey? We hear porno music, and see a close-up of a large slab of beef being caressed with seasonings. Coming soon: Fifty Shades of Flay.
9Pat Farmer shows up for his interruption #0002 of 2015. Pat does nothing more than ask Dave about his weekend, but he scores a catchy new theme song.
9Steve Carell has an Oscar nomination for Foxcatcher, which he also plugged on the 11/11/14 Late Show. Did he play it cool when he learned of the nomination? Oh... not really. (YouTube)
10monologue: "If you've been to New York City, this is a really important... very, uhh... it's a great thing. In the last week, in New York City... absolutely no murders. And I'm thinkin', 'Oh, yeah... Wait 'til the snow melts."
10Fifty Shades of Grey is the wildly-successful new film with a sadomasochistic theme. / monologue: "If you're really that excited about sadomasochism, just go down and see the Knicks play."
10Dave's Act 2 desk chat desk is about Brian Williams. (Dave, paraphrased): "I've never seen anything quite like this. Brian is smart, interesting and entertaining. He's the guy you want to be. He mentions 'facts misremembered.' Dave then says, "I just want to tell you something. I've been on television... Paul and I... a long, long time. And most of everything I have said in my 33-year career on television is not true."
10Chris Elliott's last (?) appearance with Dave was hard to take (and I mean that as a compliment). As I've written elsewhere, one can't think about the Late Night years for more than 10 seconds without thinking of Mr. Chris Elliott.
Here's a sincere exchange between Chris and Dave, as they each express their thanks for each other. (Chris): "OK, Dave, I need to wrap this up, but I want to say this now. This actually is my last appearance with you." (Dave): "Not feeling well?" (Chris): "I really doubt that I'll have anything to plug before you're off the air again. ... But... and I honestly wish you'd reconsider this. Don't we think this is premature?" (Dave): "I'll think it over." (Chris): "I think you have at least two or three years before you start getting goofy like Regis Philbin, and America loves a train wreck! I wish you luck. I know it's going to be a big change for you." ... (Chris): "I do, actually, with the audience here, do want to just say thank you, sincerely, for everything you... this man... you can edit this out... I don't care... gave me my start in the business, and you have been my biggest supporter, you have been my mentor. I have learned so much from you. I met my wife through you. I have two beautiful children, thanks to that, and everything I have is thanks to you... and I have a career." (Dave): "You're the funniest man I've ever worked with." (Chris, teared-up): "And I'm gonna miss you, and sorry, I've got the Boehner disease, here."
Then Chris favors us with a musical number, "To Dave, with Love."

"To Dave, with Love"

Those school girl days
Of biting nails and telling tales are gone
But in my mind I know...
They will still live on and on

But how do you thank someone
Who has taken you from crayons to perfume?
It isn't easy but I'll try

If you wanted the sky
I would write across the sky in letters
That would soar a thousand feet high
To Dave, with love

The time has come for closing books
And long last looks are done
(no more looks, Dave)
(alright, I'll give you one more)
And, as I leave
Well, I know that I'm leaving my very best friend

A friend who taught me right from wrong
And weak from strong
That's a lot to learn
What? What? Can I give you in return?

If you wanted the moon, I would try to make a star
But I would rather you would give me your heart
To Dave... with love

(Dave, applauding): "Thank you, Chris. That was awful!"

(video)

11monologue: "Coach Bill Belichick is on the show tonight. We invited Pete Carroll, coach of the Seahawks to be on the show, but he passed. My son wrote that joke."
11Visiting with Bill Belichick, Dave brings up the ball-inflation scandal, in the Patriots' 45-7 win over the Colts. He says ball inflation (or lack thereof) can't account for 45 points. There was so much pseudoscientific discussion about inflation that Coach should have gotten some college credit. (Dave): "You know exactly what happened. I know you know exactly what happened. You know I know you know. And what it was was some kind of horseplay. Am I right?" (Coach, shaking his head): "No." Dave says they played around upstairs today with balls having different inflation. Coach says that as balls get colder, they deflate. He dodges Dave's question on whether the Colts blew the whistle on the scandal. Dave isn't finished having fun with this. "Now, here's what I heard. I heard that the guy intercepts the pass, and he takes the ball over... hands it to his guy, he deflates it, and then they say, 'Hey, look at this ball! It's got no air in it!' Is that what happened?" (Coach): "We're gonna bring you in to testify."
11Elisabeth Moss plugs her Broadway play, The Heidi Chronicles, and the upcoming series finale of Man Men. Dave quizzes her on the outcome. "It's just a group orgy," she reveals.
12monologue: "This happens, well, about every six months. Somebody goes someplace to have a lovely meal, and they end up with problems. A woman here in Manhattan went into a seafood restaurant, bit into a hunk of fish... got a fishhook, right in the roof of her mouth. Yup. Yup. I hate it when you go into a fish restaurant, and you're the catch of the day!"
12The CBS Orchestra playing Tommy James and the Shondells' "Hanky Panky" means only one thing: Tom Hanks is in the house, and what an amazing 23-minute visit! Dave thanks Tom for appearing, to which he replies, "Dave, there's always room for you on my celebrity mule train. I can't imagine bein' out hawkin' the product without stoppin' by and talkin' to you."

After the formalities, it's straight to the topic of the night, the mechanical typewriter. Tom's developed a fascination with the old boat anchors, and is a collector. All this has led him to commission an app, Hanx Writer, that gives auditory feedback on your typing on your handheld gadget. The app was developed in Tom's underground lair, in an undisclosed desert location. (Just look for the big rock that moves aside... kind of like the Bat Cave.) Staff drive around in golf carts.

Tom and his boys, when viewing a lackluster football game, play their own game, Head Coach as Stepdad, in which they spot coaches in their sideline shots, and act out what they think they're like.

(complete interview video)

16monologue: "People come up to me and they say, 'Jimmy, why have we had no murders in 12 days?' And I... the only thing I can think of is the ground is too frozen to dig shallow graves."
16monologue: "You know what I'm talkin' about. The runaway best seller book, the movie version of the book, Fifty Shades of Grey, dominated the weekend box office, and the weekend box office liked it."
16Todd Seda has been kicking serious butt this past year with his remotes. He takes the guest chair to set up "Todd at the NBA All-Star Game." (video) (YouTube)
17monologue: "Before the show, I was talkin' to some people, and they had attended the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, down there in Madison Square Garden. What a tremendous event! And this year, of course, it was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris's dog."
17It's been a long time since our last "Who Asked for It?" 1. A beautiful female staffer, "Caroline," asks Todd Seda about his ideal date. (YouTube) 2. Walter Kim, as Alan Agostini, asks Dave about his favorite meal. (YouTube) Mike McIntee is in on this one, too. 3. Finally, writers R.J. Fried and Joe Grossman try to weasel out of work on St. Patrick's Day. (YouTube)
17Dakota Johnson plugs Fifty Shades of Grey, and makes the most of her first encounter with Dave. Here's a fun exchange:
(Dakota): "My mom... on the way here... my mom told me... I was on the phone with her... and she told me to tell you that she loves you!"

(Dave): "Well, here's something..."

(Dakota): "She really meant it!"

(Dave): "I know! Here's something I will tell you. Your mom used to come on the show all the time... and I... really loved your mom."

(Dakota pipes up): "She brought you handcuffs, one time."

(Dave, speechless): nods yes

(Dakota): "So... are you my dad?"

(Dave, grinning): "I just... Whoa! Boy... that's... naw... 'course you're kidding! No, that's just a joke!"

(Dakota): "I know who my dad is."

(Dave): "Don Johnson."

(Dakota): "Yeah." (and again, dejectedly): "Yeah."

(YouTube)

(complete interview) (YouTube)

Look at this cute photo of Dakota holding her @LETTERMAN card.

17Dave competes with the 2015 Grocery Bagging Champ, David Tochinskiy, the pride of Rosauer's Markets in Spokane. (YouTube)
18Will Smith is in to plug Focus, a film about con artists and pickpockets. He shakes hands with Dave, grabs a microphone and raps "Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It." (YouTube) After a very enjoyable interview, Will honors Dave with his own TTL, Top Ten Things I'll Miss About Dave. (YouTube) Dave wants Will to return before May 20. By the way, how about Will's stunning co-star, Margot Robbie?
19monologue: "I'm tellin' you, it's really cold. And people... it affects their thinking, because everything's directed by the cold. For example, this morning, I'm gettin' ready to come to work, and... I said, 'Honey, I'm gonna go out and warm up the car,' and she says, 'Why don't you do that with the garage door closed?' "
20It's another one of these days that's both fun and sad, as Dave welcomes Lee Marek and his Kid Scientists one last time. Scientists Aidan Liljehorn, Maddy Whirledge and Kate Burritt have demos on hydrogen as fuel, pH indicators and gunpowder. (YouTube)
23Dame Helen Mirren is in to visit about her Broadway play, The Audience, in which she plays Queen Elizabeth II. Not very far into the interview, Dame Helen informs Dave that he's upstaging her, given his position relative to hers. If I understand stage directions, Helen is saying Dave's upstaging her because he's behind her. In a play or movie, being upstage forces one's fellow actor to turn his or her back to the audience. Dave remedies this by moving to guest chair #2, and sitting beside Dame Helen for the rest of her interview.
24Matthew Broderick, two-time Tony Award winner, plugs It's Only a Play, as he assumes Martin Short's role. As with many guests of late, Dave wants to talk about being a parent. Watch for Matthew's upcoming film with Warren Beatty, not yet titled.
24Ellie Kemper plugs her new series on Netflix, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Ellie also plugs a gadget for a friend: a toaster that burns an image on each slice. She cooks up toast with the images of Dave and Paul. (YouTube) Take a side trip to Burnt Impressions to get in on the fun. When I send off for my custom toaster, I'm getting Dan Fogelberg.
25monologue: "Guess who turned 21 today? Justin Bieber. ... And, by the way, if you're thinking of getting something for Justin's birthday, you can't go wrong with bail money."
25Julianna Margulies plugs The Good Wife. Topics of the evening include her character's $10,000 wigs (YouTube), and bringing up kids.
25Chef Eric Ripert, the proprietor of upscale seafood restaurant Le Bernardin in Midtown, coaches Dave through his first attempt making Iranian Osetra Caviar Nestled in Linguine with Warm Sea Urchin Sauce. (YouTube) Le Bernardin is a high-class operation. Dave demonstrates the Heimlich maneuver to Chef Eric.
25Nielsen February Sweeps ends today, and the Late Show airs seven pre-owned, instant-classic episodes.

"Bats emit high-pitched screeches because they take pleasure in annoying others." – Alan Kalter, Feb. 5
March
9Here's something for those who, like me, miss the violence and gunplay of the Late Night days: The time change occurred yesterday, and Dave refers to Daylight Savings Time. A young man in the audience rises and interrupts Dave, informing him he should say Daylight Saving Time. Then a man across the aisle rises to defend Dave. Voices are raised. "Bob" and "Dean" start calling each other out. Soon it's bare-knuckle boxing in the aisle. The combatants fight their way toward the lobby. We're not being told they're OK. By the way... where was DeLace?
9Dave gives the floor to Paul Shaffer, who has a eulogy for his good friend, trumpet player Lew Soloff of Blood, Sweat & Tears, who sat in with the band over the years.
9Kevin Spacey, who's been on the Late Show about 30 times, is in to plug House of Cards. We learn about the Kevin Spacey Foundation, created to help aspiring young actors worldwide. Of course, Dave's not letting him out of the room without a Johnny Carson impression. (YouTube)
9Tonight marks the first of a new series of bumpers, "Steve Young's Backstage Oddities." We'll see wacky props... maybe real, maybe not... from the show over the years. Some will probably end up in the big garage sale on 53rd St. in May. We've already seen one carcass of an animal harmed during a taping of a Late Show episode. Stay tuned for more.
9Lily James makes her first appearance, plugging Cinderella, and her ongoing role in Downton Abbey. She's so beautiful! Lily tries to stay low-key while out and about, but she was mobbed in Vietnam! (YouTube)
10Hillary Clinton makes the monologue: "You know, she... there's some kind of a thing where when she was Secretary of State, she was usin' her own e-mail deal instead of the State Department, and I thought, 'Finally! A Clinton scandal the entire family can enjoy!"
10monologue: Dave discovers one of those RFID anti-theft gadgets on his sport coat, and summons costume designer Sue Hum to ask what's going on. It seems that Sue yoinked his jacket. You know... she pinched it... she dined and dashed. (video)
10Writer Bill Scheft makes his first appearance to the roof to dump some perfectly good melons. (YouTube)
10Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette plugs CSI: Cyber, new this month on CBS, and visits with Dave about her quest for equal pay for women.
10ESPN's Keith Olbermann tells his side of the story on a recent skirmish he had on Twitter that scored him a two-day suspension from ESPN, weighs in on Brian Williams' suspension and has tales from MLB spring training. (YouTube)
11Kelsey Grammer talks about his roles in Finding Neverland, a Broadway play, and Killing Jesus, and visits with Dave about his ongoing role in producing children. We see his most-recent cute kids in the green room, with his lovely wife, Kayte. (YouTube)
11This is exciting. Stevie Wonder tells about his "Songs in the Key of Life" tour, and sings "I Wish" with the CBSO. (YouTube)
12monologue: "What I was talkin' about was a couple of these guys crashed... last weekend... crashed a Secret Service car into the White House, and they had been drinking when it happened. Fortunately, the hookers were not injured."
12monologue: Joe Grossman and R.J. Fried stroll onstage with their lovely "wives." (video)
13monologue: "Republicans want to examine Clinton's hard drive. You know, they're all upset with Hillary Clinton, and they say, 'We need these e-mails, and not only that... hey, just forget the e-mails. We wanna get a look at your hard drive.' And I thought, 'Well, wasn't that the last Clinton scandal?' "
13It's "Rupert Jee's Comedy Corner!" (video)
16It's rare that Anton Fig has a speaking part these days, but we can still look back at that awesome segment when he ate a helpless canary back in 1988. During tonight's monologue, Anton's adding rim shots before Dave finishes his jokes. Dave asks if he's OK. Anton explains, "I'm fine, Dave, but you know... from where I'm sitting, I can see the punch line on the cue cards, and I think it's best if you just quit early."
16"Israel Election Update": "As Israelis go to the polls this week, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu trails slightly behind Isaac "Bougie" Herzog. This is a reversal of last week, when Bibi bested Bougie. But after Bibi's baffling Boehner booboo, and a week of bubbly Bougie embracing babies and bubbies, Bougie bounced, beating Bibi badly. So, will it be Bibi over Bougie - or Bougie over Bibi - at the ballot box? We'll know by bedtime if it's Bibi beating Bougie, or bye bye Bibi. Brian Benben, BBN."
16The lovely Shailene Woodley drops by to plug Insurgent, opening on March 20, which is the sequel to Divergent. Dave reminds us that next in the series is Detergent. Her interview will be all over the place. She still believes that a spoonful of clay a day keeps the doctor away (but no Play-Doh®). She also has the idea that bone broth (cooked for hours and hours) provides protein, and wards off the leaky gut. Regardless of her fad diet ideas, she's beautiful, smart and a very cool guest. (full interview)
16Dr. Cornel West is a professor at the Union Theological Seminary. He's quite an intellectual, and a self-described socialist. He visits with Dave on the status of race relations.
17Our old friend, Pat Farmer, interrupts Dave's monologue for the fourth time this year on this St. Patrick's Day 2015. Pat informs Dave that he's a saint. Dave wonders if Pat's had a taste today. Nope. Pat says it's clear that he's a saint. His miracle was putting up with Dave's bull      for 22 years.
17Leon Pendarvis is sitting in for Paul, who is "on assignment" (and will be tomorrow, as well). I hope all is well.
18monologue: Pope Francis is now saying he might retire. "Are you like me? Did you think the pope was appointed for lifetime? ... I mean, it's like Vanna White, right? Isn't it?"
18Dave's friend Norm Macdonald, who he says may be the funniest on earth, is in for his last of about 25 visits. It's an awesome interview, with Norm's memories of Jack Warden, George Miller and Bob Uecker. Naturally Norm has worked Las Vegas. He brings up the pitch phrase, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." You can expect real professionalism in Sin City, not assured with those "gossipy, small-town whores." (video)
18We'll have Late Show repeats on Thursday and Friday of this week, as CBS March Madness coverage begins. Full credits are run tonight.
23Dave wishes James Corden well as the Late Late Show with James Corden premieres tonight.
23Dave has a lengthy desk chat about getting caught by paparazzi while running shoeless in St. Bart's. (video)
23Gemma "The Jet" Kirby, of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey® Presents Circus Xtreme, is a human cannonball on 53rd St. We're being told she's OK. (YouTube)
23Ben Stiller, in his last visit with Dave, tells what happens when his young son, who was just learning to read, recited the marquee of a strip house. (YouTube)
24Back in the late 90s, Dave sent two gazebos to Kankakee, Illinois when their city was rated low in a "best cities" poll. To recognize Dave's retirement, the mayor arranged for wood from one of the gazebos to be used for a retirement rocking chair for Dave. Late Show intern/cue card technician/ambassador Todd Seda has his latest awesome remote, "Todd in Kankakee."
24Bill O'Reilly, in his last visit, discusses Killing Jesus, the presidential race, Pete Rose and Brian Williams, and says goodbye to Dave with, "Look... I'm gonna miss you. You know what? Letterman and I, over the years, have sparred around, and we've had a little contention and this and that, but he always had me back, I always got my say, and uh, I'm happy to be on here and to say to you, farewell, and I hope you do very well." (video)
24Aubrey Plaza, beautiful in black, plugs Ned Rifle. She's awesome! (video)
25monologue: "We have the holidays, then tax season sneaks up on you. (Dave): "You got a good accountant? You've gotta get yourself a good accountant. Geez... whenever I go there... to my accountant's office, I'm always taken up in the elevator blindfolded. I don't know why. Blindfolded. Up in the elevator. He says... my accountant says, 'Look, Dave... in the event that you are audited, I will see to it that you get a new name, and a new face.' I said, 'I'm worried about having money for retirement.' He said, 'Aww, don't worry. You'll get your cut.' "
25It's an instant classic desk chat. Dave has a six-minute tale about accidentally... almost... getting a child prodigy booted from Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center when producer Lou Adler took his joke seriously. (video)
25Jake Johannsen, in his 42nd and final appearance with Dave, does a great last stand-up act. (YouTube)
30monologue: Dave, telling us about the Secret Service, the platinum standard of agencies of its type, coins the phrase prostitutional people.
30Todd Seda learns that Zayn Malik of One Direction has gone another direction. He breaks into song and dance, and concludes by giving the ladies that look. (Dave): "Don't... don't ever do that again, Todd." (video)
30Steak 'n Shake, Dave's neighbors at 1695 Broadway, are sponsoring Rahal Letterman Lanigan now. Dave sends Biff Henderson next door with a poster-sized picture of him and Graham Rahal. We wonder if it's still up, because it looked like two guys on the crew were taking a leak. (YouTube)
31monologue 3-for-1 deal: "The Atlanta Falcons, a team in the NFL... they have been fined and lost a draft pick because through their loudspeaker system at the stadium, they have been using fake crowd noise. So you have the real crowd, and they jump it up with some sort of high-volume, amplified fake crowd sound. I mean... it's the same setup I have in my bedroom."

"Now... the New York Jets do not use fake crowd noise, but they do have a laugh track."

"And by the way... here at the Late Show, the silence you hear is real."

31Houndmouth perform "Sedona" from their new album, "Little Neon Limelight." I really like Houndmouth! itunes.com/houndmouth

"A mailbox raises its red flag to intimidate rivals and attract mates."  – Alan Kalter, Mar. 25
April
1You know that film adaptation of Bill O'Reilly's Finding Jesus? The Late Show's own Mike McIntee and Eddie Valk, as Jesus, present a gripping re-enactment, staged in the office area of the Ed Sullivan Theater. (video)
1Our old friend, David Sanborn, is sitting in tonight! Dave reminds us that David invented the saxophone. "Built his very first saxophone in the prison metal shop!" Paul has David's new record! The six-time Grammy winner's latest is Time and the River.
1Senator Al Franken hasn't been on since 3/18/08. He's been out working for the people. He hijacks the interview long enough to deliver a very nice retirement tribute to Dave. (YouTube)
1Dave loves Billy Eichner, which helps get him outside for some Billy on the Street action. Catch it on funnyordie.com.
2monologue: "Look at it this way. Even if Iran has a nuclear bomb, they have to drop it from the back of a mule."
2Jim Keyes, CEO extraordinaire, is now leading the Church of Scientology! He invites us all to drop by our local "church" for an e-meter zap and complimentary hot dog. (YouTube)
2It's Kelly Ripa, in her last visit with Dave. She looks amazing. Kelly mercilessly mimics her 13-year-old daughter and her attitude, then gives us the play-by-play of her son stepping on a sea urchin on vacation. Kelly, 5' 2½, looks surprisingly equal in height to Michael Strahan, 6' 4½, when seated by him. Dave and Kelly end up snuggled up together in guest chair #1. (YouTube)
3It's Dave's late night episode #6,000, if you count the Late Night with David Letterman episode of 1/16/91, which was taped but never aired, compliments of the start of the Gulf War.
3monologue: "Well, the kids down there in Washington, every year they have the big Easter roll on the White House lawn. The kids found 300 Easter eggs. The kids found 'em, rollin' around there on the White House lawn. Kids found 300 Easter eggs. Found about 10,000 missing Hillary e-mails."
3Act 2: Dave appears in a hilarious spoof of Going Clear, the exposé on Scientology, and once again, we hear him utter "pus-laden chancre." (YouTube)
3Mike Myers has been coming on Dave's shows for 25 years! He's in to plug Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, which will hit Netflix a week from today. Before he goes, Mike offers the latest tribute to Dave's career. (video)
3Nick Griffin is in for an outstanding stand-up routine... one of the best I've ever heard! (YouTube)
13Yes, you heard me right. It's Mike Leech as Pea Boy, the character that dates back to 1993! (video)
13It's the 32nd and final visit of Sarah Jessica Parker, who has lovely parting comments for Dave, which can be found in my Dave's Retirement page.
13Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who's only been a pro for 2½ years, tells how he handled all the hype. (video)
14monologue: "Jordan Spieth... what a guy! 18 under par! 18 under par to win the Masters. That's a... everybody's still talkin' about it. I thought, well, 'Big deal. Nobody ever mentions my under-par performance every night!"
14Billy Crystal, in his goodbye visit, came with a musical number. (video)
15monologue: "Kim Kardashian is getting married again." (to Kanye) "Kim has thrown so many bouquets, she has to get Tommy John surgery."
16It's the 40th visit of Michael J. Fox, who looks back on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future, gives an update on his health and tells us about the work of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. He's a great guy, and has been a tremendous friend of the show for almost 30 years.
16We knew that 33 years of Dave's goofiest on-camera antics would be put to good use. Mike McIntee's been keeping notes in his "Odd Dave" file, and tonight we see only a small sampling of Dave not at his best. (video)
16Tom Dreesen has been on with Dave about 40 times. As the interview winds down, Tom interjects, "Before you do that, I want to say somethin' here, pal. I don't have a gift for you, except to tell you you're the best friend a guy could ever have, and that I wish for you that you get half the joy in your retirement that you've given to the world. I love you, pal."
16In these closing days, we're seeing some of Dave's favorite musical numbers. Tracy Chapman sings "Stand by Me." This one's for Harry. (video)
17You may remember Paul Shaffer from the past 6,000 episodes. As his "It's Raining Men" plays, we see video of his comedy highlights over 33+ years.
17Alec Baldwin plugs his podcast, talks about his kids and presents Dave with a bag of alarm clocks he can throw against the wall during retirement.
17This one is amazing. John Mayer does a wonderful job performing "American Pie." (video)
20The CBSO, for the 30th time, were the house band over the weekend for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, and Dave has his annual rant about no Grammy for the CBSO. (If I had a show, I'd be saying the same thing.)
20John Travolta visits with Dave about his kids and his fleet of aircraft. Dave wants to tag along on the family's upcoming vacation to Hawaii and Tahiti.
2132-year-old intern (as far as you know) and cue card technician Todd Seda is surprised with the Pulitzer Prize (for writing cue cards, we presume). (video)
21It's Alan Kalter in a replay of The Kaltershank Redemption from 2/27/06. (video)
21Paul Rudd doesn't go back as far with Dave as some others, but he's been a fun guest in recent years. Did you know was a member of The David Letterman Fan Club back in the 80s? Paul, for the first time ever, introduces his Letterman sponge to water. (video)
22monologue: "New Yorkers, every week, create 15 pounds of garbage. Every week. One week... 15 pounds of garbage. Every New Yorker. Now, of course, that goes up if you're disposing of a body."
22Hang onto your wigs and keys! (In this case, definitely hang onto your wigs.) Bruce Willis is in the house! We see an impressive video of his antics over the years.
23Dave has "Fun with a Car in L.A." (video)
24Plugging Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron, it's Robert Downey, Jr.. His first visit with Dave was almost 25 years ago, on 8/01/90. (video)
24Biff Henderson has worked with Dave almost 35 years, since 6/23/80. We see a long collection of clips of Biff's comedy segments. (video)
24Jerry Seinfeld has been on Dave's shows since 5/13/82, and he has a little twist for us. He comes out and does the exact stand-up he did almost 33 years ago on Late Night. Next, Dave teaches Jerry how he runs across the stage as the show opens. (video) Then we get to the retirement talk, but only after Jerry and Dave switch seats. It's an awesome segment. (video)
24Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires give a wonderful performance of "Mutineer," the song Dave's good friend, Warren Zevon, sang on his last appearance on the Late Show. (YouTube)
27John Mellencamp was an interview guest, and sang a wonderful song, "Longest Days," as his goodbye to Dave. (YouTube)
28Dave and Michael Keaton had to sing and dance on Mary Tyler Moore's 1978 show, and Michael brought evidence. (video)
28Rupert Jee: Top Ten Things I've Always Wanted to Say to Hello Deli Customers (video)


DDY's Episode Logs:

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