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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  May 23, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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>> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: david letterman's last show aired wednesday night, may 20. he started with a cold open from gerald ford, followed by four living presidents. >> my fellow americans, our long national nightmare is over.
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>> our long national nightmare is over. >> our long national nightmare is over. >> our long national nightmare is over. >> our long national nightmare is over. letterman is retiring. [laughter] >> he's just kidding, right? charlie: here was his final top 10. david: top 10. ♪ thank you. i think this is a pretty good list, considering it is our last list, and the category, top 10 things i have always wanted to say today. listen to this, presenting tonight's top 10 list, 10 frequent late show guests and good friends of ours trade once again, top 10 things.
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let me thank them in advance, i appreciate their time, the talents, and her generosity. top 10 things i've always wanted to say today. number 10, alec baldwin. ♪ >> of all the talk shows, yours is most geographically convenient to my home. >> thank you, alex. number nine, barbara walters. barbara: dave, did you know that you wear the same cologne is my orthodontist?
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david: i do know that. number eight, steve martin. ♪ >> your extensive plastic surgery was a necessity. and a mistake. [laughter] david: number seven, jerry seinfeld. jerry: dave, i have no idea what i will do when you go off the air. i just thought of something. i will be fine. charlie: thank you, jerry. david: i think jerry may have a
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benefit later. [laughter] number six, jim carrey. jim: honestly, dave, i've always found you to be a bit of an over actor -- over-actor. david: number five, chris rock. chris: i am just glad your show is being given to another white guy.
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david: i had nothing to do with that. number four, julia louis dreyfus. julia: thanks for letting me take part in another hugely disappointing series finale. david: i had nothing to do with that either. number three, peyton manning. peyton: dave, you are to comedy
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what i am to comedy. david: that doesn't make any sense. peyton, oh my god. number two, tina fey. tina: thanks for finally proving men can be funny. david: i like that. things i've always wanted to say to dave, number one, bill murray.
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bill: dave, i will never have the money iou. -- i owe you. ♪ david: oh, no. steve, thank you very much. that is wonderful. thank you very much. i appreciate that. david: that was so funny. look who it is! that's unbelievable. thank you for everything. it is our friends here at "the late show." thank you everybody. charlie: and some classic
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"letterman" moments. >> how many do we have? >> about none. >> you must have friends. >> no, i used to have friends. >> what did you do? >> i accidentally pushed somebody down the stairs and they got a bloody nose. >> you think there is a lesson to be learned here? >> yes. >> and what is that? >> accidents happen. >> do you have brothers and sisters. >> sister. >> what is her name? >> rachel. >> do you want to say hi to rachel? go ahead and say hi to rachel. here we go. say high to rachel. >> hi, rachel. >> i will accompany, you sing. >> ♪ dashing through the snow jingle bells
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jingle bells you've got to be quiet you are not you are not you are not funny ♪ ♪ >> i will get you one of those. david: it is my lunch break and i have not had a chance to get anything to eat. can you get me something to eat? >> no. david: you order for me a baroda supreme -- burrito supreme, ok? >> for you? david: what would you like ma'am? [inaudible] david: i will pay for it, but you have to order it. pareto supreme with no meat.
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-- burrito supreme with no meat. what else, map? -- ma'am? [inaudible] the real total is $26.80. the burrito supreme is a little pricy. it is our most expensive item. [inaudible] let me see if i can repeat that. you ordered a couple of tacos or something and a burrito supreme with no meat, is that correct? >> she's gone already, chief. charlie: a recognition of his respect for the audience. >> i want to thank the folks at home. people come up to me all the time nsa, i have been watching you since your morning show and
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i always say, have you thought about a complete psychological work out? the people who watch this show there's nothing i can do to ever repay you. thank you for everything. you have given me everything. thank you again. charlie: and then with a loving bow to his wife and son, dave was off. david: i want to thank my own family, my wife, regina, and my son, harry. thank you. look at that kid. seriously, just thank you for being my family. i love you both, and nothing
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else matters, does it? [applause] charlie: we take a moment this evening for a snapshot of his genius from those who appeared on his show. >> he brought a brand of comedy and humor to our culture that only he did and only he could do. >> he felt like he was running his own situation. >> i would like a quarter powder, a half pounder -- >> and a half pounder. >> a three quarter powder. >> -- pounder. >> he was the guy who seem to be hearing a different beat. >> something about it spoke to me. david: i got a big john's moving
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truck in front of me and i'm calling to comment on his driving. >> that show was very smart and very stupid at the same time. david: we are going through an intersection, that's all right. >> because of him, the whole culture has its own top 10 list. >> place ears are receding faster than letterman's hairline -- glaciers are receding faster than letterman's hairline. >> he can be wickedly funny, but also very warm and heartfelt. >> i was 57 when he was born. >> that's what i am. >> i thought, people must think i'm the biggest fool alive, but i don't care, i have loved every second of it. >> it really was a crapshoot if you would click with him, or if
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he would flay you like the daily special. >> are you being insulting? >> suite would not be a word anyone would use to describe you. >> sometimes he could be a jerk. in spite of that, everybody wanted to flirt with him. >> i don't think it's possible to emulate him, but i think you see the guys you do now only because there is a david letterman. >> everything we do, at least everything i do, is heavily influenced by him and what he did. whenever he does, there is no one who does what he does. >> how are you? what the you have their? >> pizza. >> can you take the pepperoni off the pizza and leave it on the sidewalk? >> fearless, original, always himself. >> the doctor will begin in a minute. >> that is the absolute secret
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to connecting with an audience. >> can you tell us about your days with the unibomber? >> whatever it is, you are bringing 100% of yourself. >> goodbye. >> what you will miss is a sense of honesty to the humor. >> more and more you see the mural and the sistine chapel. it's too much. >> i am not going for the 16th chapel. >> he was always pretty honest. >> canadian high school. >> i will miss his smile, his face, his goofy laugh, and the opening every night, hearing what he has to say about the world and what is going on in it. it is really part of my cultural compass. >> i got you a bag of cheap,
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inexpensive alarm clocks. just throw them against the wall and smash them because you do not have to go to work anymore. >> there was no one like him and it is doubtful there will ever be anyone like him. >> that's what i'm talking about. that is the great alec baldwin. ♪
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>> and finally, two interviews i did with dave letterman, one in 1996 and the other at the time of his kennedy center honors. >> congratulations. this is, as joe biden would say, a big deal. david: it is a big deal. when i first found out about it, i thought something was wrong. i called people i knew who might be able to tell me how things like this happen, because i was very suspicious, feeling completely unworthy, and we tracked down the process by which a person is selected and considered, so it took me about two weeks to become satisfied that there was legitimacy to this. i still don't feel that way, but at least i know, to my great satisfaction, money did not change hands. my family is thrilled and delighted, and based on my family's of these esm -- enthusiasm, i can live with this.
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charlie: harry? david: the idea of going to the white house will get his attention. the rest of the family could not be more thrilled. to me that is reason enough, and could not be happier and more grateful to the folks who made this mistake. charlie: it is a classy group to be associated with. johnny carson, you were there for that. david: i was there for that night. i was apollo ted koppel, and it was the first of many times i had to follow ted koppel, and that is not where you want to be. he is very, very funny. as i said that night, may a little too funny for a news man. charlie: for 30 plus years of doing something you love, that is a nice way to go. yes, it is. that is great, good luck.
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david: i know a lot of people are never really quite sure of what they want to do, what path they want to follow. maybe they make themselves happy with whatever path they end up on, but there was no question in my mind from the time i was 17 when i wanted to do, and i have pre-much done it every day of my life, everything i ever wanted to do. i was in television in 1968. i have been doing this a long time, and it is still just fun. all it is is you showing off her you bring in a bunch of people who really don't want to be here. charlie: and hope they will be entertained. david: we have been lucky with the people who have come to see
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us. charlie: there is a story that you did not particularly like college that much, and then you took a public speaking course, and you said, this is it. david: it was in high school, my sophomore year in high school. my p or group was following an academic course of study -- academic group was following an academic course of study. as they continued successfully on the academic course and i was taking more and more shop classes, i was being pulled away from ip group. i started to panic because these are the guys that i liked and spent time with an emulated, and they were going away while i was learning how to solder. i could see that i was going to be in some trouble. and then i took this speech
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class in high school my sophomore year, and the first project the first-day of school was we had to get up and given extemporaneous five-minute talk about ourselves. i did that, and everything else changed. i said, this is really what i want to do. now that shook will be to find out if you can make money with a five minute asked ever any us speech. -- extemporaneous speeches. charlie: what was it about that that made you say wow? david: i don't know. i do know. nothing in my life ever went well. this want -- this went surprisingly well and could not have been easier. the combination of getting rewarded for something that is easy to do, there you go. you are writing your own paycheck, aren't you?
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charlie: at some point you drive out to los angeles. you look around and you see the comedy store. three years later you're sitting next to johnny carson. david: that was cool. it was 1975. we are heading west. it was so easy because we own a television set and you watch the "tonight show." once a week, twice a week you would see comics. before and after each comic johnny would say, you can see so at the comedy store. you would have to be stupid to overlook that connection. so i told everybody that i wanted to be a writer, but i did not really want to be a writer. i did not want to make too big a fool of myself. the first week we got out there, i went to the comedy store. charlie: how was that first performance?
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david: really scary, but the woman, mitzi shore, to whom i/o a great debt -- i owe a great debt, was kind enough to ask me if i wanted to come back. then she had me and seeing -- emceeing, which was perfect. i could introduce the other act and make fun of drugs in the audience. charlie: but you got to hang out with people who were doing what you wanted to do. david: every night you would get to try out your material. the best part was seeing people that became your friends, and watching them work. it was my good friend george miller, tom drees and, and then robin williams and jay leno, johnny dark and on and on and on, men and women who maybe you have heard of and some you haven't, but they were all really funny. funnier than i ever was. to go to work knowing you were going to spend the night laughing -- and in the camaraderie was always entertaining too. charlie: carson meant what to
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you? david: for a person in that situation, everything great -- everything. it was not like it is now. the door to being a standup comedy or television success was "the tonight show." he meant everything to me, he meant everything to everybody else out there doing standup. it was a time when you could be on that show, do well on the "tonight" show. the next day you would get calls about having your own show auditioning for william morris wanted you, and they are going to put you on a show, and there's a movie and this. on those days people would go out on tour for 6, 8 months, and they would have an opening act. it was really the employment placement office. more often than not, if johnny liked you, you are going to trend upward. charlie: the most powerful influence on your life, you think? david: first for that reason and second he was the gold standard.
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i used to think as a kid watching him in the midwest and indianapolis, and my dad would be there in his underwear and i would be there in my pajamas, we would be watching johnny carson, and johnny was like, i love my dad, but johnny is hipper than my dad. johnny kind of became a guy. charlie: when is the last time you saw him alive? david: years ago, he and his wife were in town on their boat. they invited me and my wife to have dinner with them, and we sailed up and down the hudson. we went under the george washington bridge, turned around and came back, looked right at the statue of liberty and up the east river. it was all at sunset, it was magical.
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charlie: he walked away from it. could you walk away from it? david: i think so. i know johnny missed it. six months after he retired, somebody had a big party for him in new york and he had won some sort of award. people got up and did material and i had to get up and do material, ted koppel was there and then johnny got up, and johnny who had not been on television for six months or a year, bang, bang, bang, bang right down, like he had not missed a beat, the stuff out of the newspaper. at some point during that he says, i am so glad this is going well.
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he said, i sure do miss it. i know he missed it. i know i would miss it, but i would find other things to do. charlie: other dramatic events in your life, you go to the hospital and they tell you you are going to be on the operating room. -- in the operating room. does it change your attitude? david: it did change my attitude about work. from the minute they pulled the integrator -- intubator out, i thought, i wonder if i can still work again. in a movie, it would be where the prize fighter who gets knocked down, it would be the montage where he then tries to get back in shape to get into the shot at the title. i was worried i would not be able to work again. a kind of really the fuse of let me see if i can do this. that is why you leave indianapolis in a pickup truck because you want to see if you can do it. now i want to see if i can still do this.
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charlie: and you did, but there are stories that you became mellow? more charming? [laughter] that you were not quite as you had been. a guy whose entire life was this show, because it had to find a guy whose entire life was this show, because it had defined what you love doing, you want to do it better, and you did not know what there would be if it was not there. david: irrespective of what i just said, one of the things of regret i have, i don't know if it could have been any other way, but a regret i have was not being so single-minded about the show. and i think what it is, in my case, the two great motivators in my life -- i hate it when people start talking about two great motivators in my life -- one is the guilt.
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i am really haunted by guilt. actual guilt, made up guilt. the other would be a fear of failure. because, if i don't succeed, me loading the pickup truck in indianapolis in 1975 looks pretty silly. charley: so, success to find that as a right thing to do. david letterman: it came at a price, the heart surgery being one of them. i wish i had not been so single-minded. when your focus is that tight, you miss a lot of what is going on around you. charlie: cbs came to you and howard stringer after they decided to go with jay for the "tonight show." can you look at that now and say that was for the best? david: yes.
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when i look at that now, it reminds me of some of the worst behavior and i wish things were like they are now. i wish they were not like they were then. there was a lot of pressure that came in and remodel displays -- and remodel to this place, which i had grown to love. i didn't handle it well. i wish i were able to handle it the way i handle things now. charlie: but it was insecurity, anger? david letterman: insecurity anger, or a failure, everything. i wouldn't say it's all gone but it's a manageable dose. i mean, i still lose my temper.
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charlie: that'll make this one of the most interesting interviews of ever done. what is it that you think that you brought? you created this show, which followed the previous show where, in the eyes of many, you redefined comedy. it could it be what johnny was doing, it had to be something else. you wouldn't want to have his guests on your show. david letterman: we were told we couldn't have the same guests. but i had very little to do with that. the people on the staff were resource full enough and figured out that that was not the show they wanted to do anyway. i was lucky enough to do so many also show. a built the show, and i did it.
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-- that they built the show, and i did it. we did is steve o'donnell show which was another head writer and we did rob burnett's show and i like the fact that these people were all smarter and funnier than i was, because -- charlie: is that just separate -- is that the self-deprecation, or do you actually believe that? david letterman: i did. and it's a great believe. because you learn from them while they are doing it, and then you can personalize it. charlie: here is the interesting thing. what johnny carson meant to do you mean to jimmy kimmel. and others. do you have any sense of that? do you appreciate that? david letterman: jimmy kimmel
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has been very nice to me. he is a nice kid and has been gracious to the point where it has made me self-conscious. i started thinking about what this is in the comparison that he had made that you are to me what carson was to you. the difference is all i really have is tenure. carson was head and shoulders beyond anybody doing it now, anybody who will ever do it. you may see flashes of what he could do. but if you look at his show, it was always effortless. even shows that were awful, you just wanted to see what johnny was doing. i don't have that. all i have is time. i put in my time. charlie: it is more than that one, david. i'm not one to argue, but at the same time, it is self evident that after you, people looked at these shows differently. and therefore fallon and kimmel
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-- more than tenure, there was something about the eccentricity of what it was. david: i think it was the vision of the people around me more than me. we all knew that the charge was to be a different show. and in the beginning, i thought i had all the answers for television. you had that attitude. charlie: watch out, world. i'm coming. david: if you can wait just a little bit longer, we will take care of television. charlie: we have the secret. david: you realize you don't know the answer. charlie: because it's not there every night. david letterman: i don't know if i can rightly -- i was in the room, i will give you that. charlie: you cannot understand unless you sit in that chair how you feel the necessity of getting a laugh every minute. david: i remember when we said that. i don't feel that way anymore. i always felt like the show -- i was the central nervous system
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of the show. well, -- while my name is in the title of the show, i don't feel that need now. i feel like the presence of the guest can handle that just fine. somebody else can get a laugh, or we can go without a laugh. i would prefer a laugh comes from someplace, but i don't feel that ultimately that weight is on my shoulders. charlie: is what makes you laugh different today? david: that's a good question. no. i think what makes me laugh is the same thing that has always made me laugh, something really silly. yet still within the range of plausibility. something that, yeah that maybe could happen, we don't think so but maybe it could happen. it is so very silly. and that is all that it takes. charlie: these smart people come
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in here and they push back. david letterman: that's pretty good. charlie: it is also the fact if -- that they come prepared. i flew back across the country with tom hanks one day and he was going to be on the show. he was thinking about appearing with you for five minutes. preoccupied with it, because he wanted it to be perfect. david: he is a tremendous guy, and for him to take my show that seriously, that's high praise. charlie: finally, there was a sense that for a while you were a loner. david letterman: not a loner, a drifter. a man wanted in several states. charlie: a man who would get in his porsche and drive up here. david letterman: a psychopath. charlie: a man who had an obsession with owning lots of land in montana. david letterman: collecting jars
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of his own urine. [laughter] charlie: thank you. david letterman: thank you. honestly, i'm so grateful. in the beginning when we came here, i was really difficult for the network. i regret that behavior, and over the years, people like yourself and the management have been nothing but kind to me. i appreciate that. charlie: because we love you. david letterman: aqq.ww. ♪\
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♪ charlie: let me go back to leaving indianapolis and going to l.a. were you set on being a talk show host or were you just going out there to get into television and do comedy? david letterman: when i left indianapolis i worked at a television station. i started working in tv in 1969 when i was 19 or 20. i had worked at the station for five years, worked at a radio station, and i knew something else was going on. i had the sense that there is something else out there. i did not think i would be satisfied or fulfilled doing a 4h half-hour kids' show once a week. i would see these guys come on the tonight show, and i would think, man, if only i could do that a little bit. so, i told my family i was going
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out to be a writer. the idea of me being in show business would have horrified and sickened everyone. come to think of it, the fact of me in show business horrifies and sickens millions. charlie: but then you brought your mother into show business. david letterman: oh, lord. i said, i'm going to go out there to be a writer. i'm a goofy looking guy. but i knew in the back of my mind what i would try is to get into comedy, do standup comedy. in those days you knew how to do that, and that was go right to the comedy store and start doing it. before that i would not have known how to get into comedy. charlie: did it come naturally to you? david letterman: more or less. like anything else, you have an affinity for something, but there are many things to learn. i remember the first night i was on stage at the comedy store and my first reaction was this bright white light, and i thought it was one of those near-death tales. i'm coming home, uncle eddie.
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i can just remember there being something visceral, you can smell the people out there because they are loaded up on watered-down drinks. all of a sudden it was an out of body experience because i could not see myself standing there, saying words i had memorized to the silence but still smelling the people. it was an exhilarating experience but also a complete failure. charlie: and then when you got the laughs. david letterman: that night i got no laughs, but i was happy that i have done it. i was happy that ok, i tried it, so maybe i will try it again. like anything else, you make a little progress here and slip back a little and continue to make progress. and i knew pretty soon i was not cut out to be a standup comedian, the kind of guy that will take 250 gigs a year, goes to las vegas and he goes to jupiter and neptune and buffalo. there are guys like that, and god bless them. because these are the guys who can do it. they have an iron constitution. charlie: jerry seinfeld was that. david letterman: absolutely.
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there are fewer younger guys doing that now. at one time it was more the domain of an earlier generation. i knew i did not have that. so i felt like, i will use this to get into television. charlie: and then you did johnny. david letterman: the johnny carson show, a couple of times. it went pretty well, but it was no real surprise because i had about four or five years, and i had 20 minutes of material. i had it divided into four "tonight show" shots. and you've memorized it. every, -- every comma semicolon, everything. i knew the first one would go pretty well, and it did go pretty well. to me that was, and is the biggest thrill i've had since i've been doing television. charlie: what did he say to you when you sat down? david letterman: i have no idea. i can remember at the time i was sitting there. i left indianapolis in 1975. and i think in like 1978, i'm
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sitting next to johnny carson. it wasn't rich little. johnny was there that night. it was not hugh downs filling in for johnny, it was johnny. and i can remember -- forgive me if it is clumsily articulated but my reaction was, all your life you see a five dollar bill. and then suddenly you see lincoln. it's like, oh, my god, it's honest abe. the guy on the five dollar bill. that was the reaction. i was just completely wired for days and days after that. that was for me the single most important, but also the single most thrilling experience of my life. charlie: how long was it before they asked you to come in and guest host? david letterman: i think it was november of 1978. in march or april of 1979, i did my first guest host there. charlie: when you made the
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decision to go to cbs, what went through your mind in terms of what you would have to do at 11:30 that would be different than what you were doing at 12:30? david letterman: at the time that was a big issue -- i don't know why -- but people view 11:30 and 12:30 as polarized spots on the clock. they are not. the people who are up at 1230 are the people who were up at 1130 and continue to watch. it is not that different. it is the same deal. we imposed on ourselves a strict scrutiny and we decided, it's got to look like more money. make new york city look like a postcard. make everybody salivate when they see new york city. as you know, many of the citizens here, that's all they do is salivate. make people want to get on the first bus and come to new york. that was the first thing we discussed. the rest of it was minor, like we added some guys to the band we looked at the wardrobe.
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we had a bigger theater. beyond that, it was not that much different. charlie: what makes a good show? david letterman: my personal criteria as we were discussing earlier, we have an audience of 500 people. they come from wherever they come from. they write in for tickets three months, six months a year in advance. they get plane tickets babysitters, rental cars, they go to hotels, they have to park their car, walk, wait in line. so we get these people in there, and at the end of the evening i -- if i get the sense that these people are disappointed, i realize i failed. any single element or combination of elements by design or accident that pleases these people and makes satisfied with the difficulty they have had to endure to get there, i feel like that is it, stop the clock, no more calls, this show will be fine. because i think that that sense of enjoyment breaks through the glass. charlie: do you think you are the best judge of that?
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david letterman: yes. you are convinced you know it's a good show? david letterman: yes. i do know because i'm sitting right there. i feel it. charlie: how many times a week do you have a good show? 3 out of 5? david letterman: three out of five would be great. i would sell my soul for 3 out of 5. sometimes we get there. sometimes we get 5 out of 5. some nights you get a good show one out of five and you think, ok. charlie: how different is the show you are doing and the show that carson did for all those years? david letterman: we are doing circus time. we get people swinging on things, setting fire to stuff, we get folks running around naked. johnny would come out and do his monologue and then maybe he would do aunt blabby, and say silly things to florence
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henderson. i don't mean to suggest he was loafing. he was doing a lot of work. but it was not this barrage of stuff where ok, let's see what party boy is doing tonight. scare somebody. charlie: do you think you got to do that because that is where the audience is in 1996, or do you think it is simply a reflection of your sense of humor? david letterman: i wish i could say it was a reflection of my sense of humor and comedy. mostly at the core i think it is. i don't know whether we have to do that to attract and keep an audience. charlie: then why do you do it? david letterman: because of the competitive nature of the current marketplace of television, which now seems infinite. you feel that is required. and lord knows, i don't know if it is required, but that is the feeling. charlie: the feeling of you, or of your staff?
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david letterman: everybody. we have contributed to this, sadly. we've bit on our own bait. because when we first came on the air, every night we had hot air balloons going up in the audience, people jumping out of blimps, it was just nuts. but we thought, this is our one chance, we've got to load it up and go here. i think that the "tonight show," from that experience they decided, look at what these guys are doing. charlie: it reminds me of what happened to daytime television. donnie started doing it, and then everybody took it a little further until it collapsed. david letterman: i wish i could tell you that was confident that was the right way to do it, and i don't know. every friday night i get a chance to watch tom snyder. when i see tom and i see shows like this and some other shows i'm reminded that may be what
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you really need here, maybe all you really need is legitimate communication between two people chatting and people watching. charlie: but you don't trust that? david letterman: no. i don't. i have read too many things about our show. it's dull, it is old, it's tired. you think, well, that's me. i'm here. present. i'm dull. i'm old. i'm tired. tonight at 11:30. charlie: it would do, you have 15 writers? -- what do all the writers do? you have 15 writers? david letterman: i guess. i don't know. at the christmas party a lot of them come up and introduce themselves. charlie: what is it they do? do they write the skits, the monologue, what? david letterman: yes. i actually do very little, and it is just as well. charlie: come on. this show is your life. there is nothing you would
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rather do. you are driven obsessed to make it as good as you think it can be. david letterman: that's right. and my influence on this production is the ultimate yes or no. when you have really good people, you will get more yes's than no's. so, that is my only contribution to this, hopefully saying yes more often than i say no. charlie: what do you enjoy the most about it? is it the monologue? the skit? the interview? david letterman: for me if something goes crazy, one of two things can happen. if something breaks down something occurs, it can go one of two ways. when something happens something tiny, something from the audience, something, just a speck on somebody's coat and when that turns into something huge and it will, that tiny thing dominates the rest of the show. for me that is the best. that is like cold fusion.
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it's like, come in here, that kind of thing. what is the guy's name? charlie: i don't know. david: alexander graham bell. exactly. charlie: what time do you come into the office? david: i get up at dawn every day. charlie: you get up at dawn? david: i run to bridgeport. that is a 60 mile round-trip run. i come back, i have the breakfast. i have bacon, a toast medley, jams, the jellies. then i shower off and drive to work. i try to get to work at around 10. from 10:00 on it is a fistfight. charlie: what do you do all day? david: yes and no. pretty much that's it. charlie: someone said to me that just for the top 10 list, you have 15 writers, and each of
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them make up a top 10 list when you decide what the subject is going to be, and then you select the top 10. yes? david: yes. charlie: the top 10 ought to be brilliant every night. david: well, it certainly is not. sometimes -- can i give you $1000 if i can light this cigar? this looks like smokey the bear is coming in to show us how to build a campfire. [laughter] sometimes unfortunately, like television, you are always late. by the time i get to work i'm an hour late, and that is the way it goes. every day is the best compromise we can make. sometimes chips fall your way, sometimes they don't. the plane is taking off at 5:30 one way or another. charlie: they say you are enormously self-critical. that's when things don't go right, you don't like anybody
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but yourself. david letterman: that's being generous, but ultimately i accept the responsibility for everything that goes wrong. it is like a guy driving a race car. they build a car, they put the engine in it, they fine-tune it, they adjust the aerodynamics, the fuel flow whatever and then , i go out there and put it in the wall. every day i am given the elements of a great car. some days, because i'm human, i just stack it up. knowing the staff of 50 or 60 people have done their best every day, then they put me in the car, oh my goodness, he has tapped the wall and turned four. i feel like i am responsible, and i should be responsible. my name is in the credits. i get the big paycheck. you know, that's me. charlie: there it is, a remarkable television journey into the hearts of american television viewers ends after 33 years. david letterman will be
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remembered and missed, and probably have a great life. ♪
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