David Letterman recalls one of his favorite ‘Late Show’ moments

‘The Late Late Show’
Paul Schaffer, left, and David Letterman are guests of Regis Philbin on “The Late Late Show.”

As David Letterman counts down the months and weeks until his retirement from the “Late Show,” he’s becoming more nostalgic about the good times he’s had. And he quite often credits a lot of that to his longtime bandleader and second banana, Paul Schaffer.

Letterman and Schaffer were guests of Regis Philbin, one of the many guest hosts on CBS’ “Late Late Show” filling in the gap between Craig Ferguson and new host, James Corden. (Or as Letterman described him, “That chubby guy from England.”)

Unlike other guest hosts such as Judd Apatow and Jim Gaffigan, who hosted from Ferguson’s old studio in Television City, Philbin did his “Late Late Show” from New York and the studios of the “CBS This Morning” program.

And while the sit-down of broadcast veterans tended a bit toward an overaffectionate love-in, Letterman did reveal a recent moment when he and Schaffer showed some punk kids how to do the show business thing.


“These kids came on our show, they were from just outside of Chicago,” Letterman recalled. Though he couldn’t recall the name of the band, he remembered their attitude well.

“They were, as they used to say, too cool for school,” Letterman said. “You could tell their attitude was, ‘Yeah, we’re young. These guys are old. It’s a TV show, but we really don’t want to be here.’ ”

Despite that, Letterman said he was impressed with their performance and asked them to play it again right away for the crowd. But they demurred. The lead singer claimed he’d injured himself by falling over and the guitar player said he broke a string.

“I said, ‘Paul, do something,’ ” Letterman said. “Will Lee, the bass player, says ‘You know what, we can do the damn song.’ So Will and the band and Paul start doing the song exactly as it had been. And Paul comes out and falls down just as the lead singer had done.”


“There were only a couple of chords to know,” Schaffer said.

“After all these years, something like that really tickles me,” Letterman said.

The name of that band? The Orwells.

Meanwhile, Letterman also expressed his skepticism of Corden’s desire to host a late-night show, based on the several-month gap requiring guest hosts.

“Where’s the tubby kid?” Letterman demanded. “How bad does he want to do a show?”

“There aren’t that many shows,” Letterman said. “How bad does he want it? Where is he? I’m just saying if I’ve invested my money in a guy to do a show and he says, ‘I’m going to need a couple of months,’ I think that’s a flag.”

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday

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