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Howard Stern interviews David Letterman

Picture of Howard and Dave

Uncensored interview transcript of Letterman's appearance on the Howard Stern Show.

DELL'ABATE: So, Dave, the big question is, what made you finally decide to come in today?

LETTERMAN: Because Howard has asked me to be on the show for 12 years, and I've never been able to do it, and I just realized, well, this is stupid. I should do something nice for Howard. He's done nice things for us.

STERN: 12 years in the waiting. We get David Letterman to sit down for an interview.

QUIVERS: Are we on some kind of a time limit?

STERN: I don't know. We're probably on a time limit.

(Letterman walks into the recording studio.)

STERN: There he is. Let me look. I never thought I'd see you in this studio. Let's see how that looks.

QUIVERS: That's the way it looks.

STERN: There he is, the King of Late Night. Look at him standing there. Wow. Look at that.


QUIVERS: Good morning.

STERN: That's Diamond. That's your assistant, right?


STERN: So how horrible is this for you to be here?

LETTERMAN: It's not horrible at all. I'll tell you something. There's too many people, you know, there's too many cars, and, you know, I got important things to do today. I'm coming in here to be on the radio. I have to help you. You've been nice enough to invite me in here to help entertain America this morning.

STERN: This is my reward.

LETTERMAN: Everybody else on the highway, they're coming to town to like look at shoes or something or go to lunch.

STERN: Right.

LETTERMAN: That's not important. That's non-essential.

STERN: Right.

LETTERMAN: I'm here on a mission. Get off the West Side highway. Please, do me a favor. Just get off the highway.

STERN: You drove yourself here?

LETTERMAN: Yes, I did. It's no longer a viable highway. It's not. It's turned into a pedestrian mall.

QUIVERS: You don't have a driver or you --

STERN: You don't have a driver?

LETTERMAN: No, I don't have a driver.

STERN: That's the whole thing. Dave likes to drive his own car.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. You have a driver.

STERN: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: Don't you get tired of saying, "No, no, left here. No, no, I said left. No, no, no, no, it's right. No, two blocks down and then a left."

STERN: I find it tremendously relaxing --


STERN: -- to be able to drive in --


STERN: Dave, look at me.


STERN: All right. I find it tremendously -- I want some eye contact.

LETTERMAN: I have to look at you?

STERN: Yeah, you have to look at me.

LETTERMAN: Oh, Howard.

QUIVERS: That's part of it. That's part of being here.

STERN: Listen to me. We're gonna have fun. We're gonna talk. Relax.

QUIVERS: Well, you know, the reason I was shocked he doesn't have a driver is you're telling me on those birthday shows when you call in, you're driving and talking on the phone at the same time?

LETTERMAN: Yeah, that's right.

STERN: Oh, yeah, yeah.

LETTERMAN: This is 1995. They've got car phones. Have you ever heard of car phones?

QUIVERS: Well, that makes more sense to me now.

STERN: No, he likes driving in, but to me I find it very relaxing to --

LETTERMAN: They have remote controls too, VCR's. They got everything. It's amazing.

QUIVERS: No. It's just you're very relaxed about doing this program.

STERN: Why are you so tan? Where were you?

LETTERMAN: It's my blood pressure.

STERN: Were you on vacation?

LETTERMAN: I was on vacation.

STERN: Where do you go to vacation? Do you go to Hawaii?

LETTERMAN: Yeah, I go to Hawaii (laughs).

STERN: No. Where do you go?

LETTERMAN: I go to Waikiki, exactly.

STERN: No, what do you do? I mean, you've obviously been to someplace warm.

LETTERMAN: I'm staying at the Hyatt there at Maui.

STERN: No. Where do you go? Don't be uptight.

LETTERMAN: It's lovely. They've got a dolphin show four times a day.

STERN: Answer the question. Where do you go? Do you go to Los Angeles when you're on vacation?

LETTERMAN: No, no. I have a little time share condo in Gary, Indiana, on Lake Michigan.

STERN: No, no, no, you go to an island.

LETTERMAN: I have a place in the Poconos.

STERN: Come on. You go to the island, right?

LETTERMAN: Honeymoon spot, one of those heart-shaped tubs.

STERN: You go to an island?

LETTERMAN: (Goofing around in a strange voice) That's where I'm going, sure.

STERN: Do you go to an island?

LETTERMAN: I went to see my sister and her family in Florida.

STERN: I see. So obviously you went out in the sun?

LETTERMAN: When I go out in the sun, I'm out running. That's when I get this way.

STERN: And you run?

LETTERMAN: I run, yeah.

STERN: And that is the thing now, and you eat once a day; am I correct?

LETTERMAN: No. On vacation I eat like all day. I get up in the morning and I just don't stop eating.

STERN: And you don't think you're getting too thin?

LETTERMAN: No, because the last time I weighed myself I was 204, 204.

STERN: Right.


QUIVERS: Really?

STERN: No, you do not weigh 204.


STERN: That was when you weighed yourself.

LETTERMAN: When I weighed myself, and then I said this is too heavy, so I now try to keep myself at like 170 or something.

STERN: And you only eat once a day?

LETTERMAN: You know, the problem is on vacation I eat like four or five times a day, so now I'm worried that I'm not gonna be able to get this off.

STERN: All right. So you go on vacation, and what is David Letterman like when he is not David Letterman, when he's not doing this show? Do you think Late Shift was accurate?

LETTERMAN: You know, I didn't read it. I didn't see it.

STERN: You did see it; you had to have seen it.

LETTERMAN: No, I didn't see it.

STERN: What happened with the guy who was supposed to be on the show?

LETTERMAN: We ran out of time and he got bumped.

STERN: And you never had him back?

LETTERMAN: No, never had him back.

STERN: Did you do that -- you did that -- that's your own little joke.

QUIVERS: You did that on purpose.

LETTERMAN: We'll have him back for his next project.

(Yelling and laughing from the cast.)

STERN: Wait a second, Dave. That was intentional, right?

LETTERMAN: No, it wasn't.

STERN: That was to embarrass the guy.

LETTERMAN: No, it was not to embarrass him.

QUIVERS: You mistreated the guy.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, that's why I'm in business, to embarrass people.

STERN: How happy were you when you said to the guy, "Listen, you're not getting on, and you know what? Don't come back"?

LETTERMAN: No, no, no. That's what I said to Morty.

STERN: What's going on with Morty? Now, can I give you my theory? And tell me if I'm wrong.

LETTERMAN: Oh, yeah, this will be good. Let me get a pad and jot some of these things down.

STERN: You know what I think?

LETTERMAN: I want to hear Howard Stern's theory.

STERN: I think Morty -- Morty is Dave's producer who was just --


STERN: Okay. Let me tell you what I think.


STERN: I think that when you do a show for many, many years, sometimes you need to have an infusion of energy, or whatever it is. You need certain talents around you. Morty is a schmoozer. He's not really a creative guy, and while Morty served a certain function for you in terms of, you know, meeting the public and going out and doing these meet-and-greets and stuff, basically he couldn't contribute to the show the way your head writer could. So you edged Morty out. Fair assessment?

LETTERMAN: Nothing could be farther from the truth.

STERN: Really?

LETTERMAN: Let me explain to you exactly what happened.

STERN: Morty's a schmoozer.

QUIVERS: I don't see why Morty couldn't stay there --

LETTERMAN: Can I talk here?

QUIVERS: -- and continue to do that.

STERN: Because they're paying him two million dollars a year.

LETTERMAN: We caught him stealing computers. That's why he couldn't stay.

STERN: Morty made two million a year, which knocked me on my ass.

LETTERMAN: Stealing computers.

STERN: When I heard Morty made two million dollars a year, it knocked me on my ass.


STERN: I said there's no way.

QUIVERS: Now, who was paying that? Were you paying that?

STERN: Give me half a million. I'll give you ideas for the show.

LETTERMAN: It's the Benevolent Fund. People around the country have chipped in to support that. No, you know, I'm sorry Morty -- I hope Morty isn't gone.

STERN: He is.

LETTERMAN: But we had a lot of difficult things going on, and you have to make some choices, and unfortunately --

STERN: Morty got edged out.

LETTERMAN: I just had to make a hard choice, and I consider him still my friend. He was terrific, and I hope that we can continue to work together, but it's just one of those things. Every now and then you have to do something --

QUIVERS: Well, what were the choices?

STERN: I understand it.

LETTERMAN: I'm not at liberty to go into this right now.

STERN: I would like to fire my producer, but I just can't.

QUIVERS: I would like to know what the choices were.

STERN: Well, I'll tell 'ya.

LETTERMAN: I'm not telling 'ya.

STERN: Come on. You better fess up. Do you want me to tell 'ya?

LETTERMAN: Get out the sodium pentathol.

STERN: Diamond knows this. Morty doesn't -- Morty's a schmoozer. He's not like a real creative guy.

QUIVERS: Yeah, but at one time there was a two million dollar spot for that schmoozer.

LETTERMAN: Morty is a very nice man.

STERN: Morty is a great --

LETTERMAN: He made an invaluable contribution to the program, and we are all going to miss him.

STERN: Not really. If he was invaluable, he'd still be there. Okay. Now, who irritates you more, Morty or the guy from Late Shift?

LETTERMAN: I don't even know the guy from Late Shift, and we didn't bump him intentionally. We just ran out of time because, you know, the show was just that good that night and we just ran out of time.

STERN: Did Morty get to take the elevator down or did you push him out a window? Come on. Be honest. Why don't you tell the truth for once.


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