On Wednesday, May 14th, 1997, I, Bill Lehecka, made my second trip to The
Ed Sullivan Theater to see a taping of "The Late Show with David Letterman."
Like my previous trip on May 7th, I was extremely excited to go. My friends
Chrissie, Jason, Jeremy, and I took a train around 11:00 AM into the city.
We arrived at Penn Station around 12:40 PM. We then made our way to the
subway (Either the 1 or 9 train uptown) to 50th street. The theater is
on 53rd and Broadway (for those who don't know), so after reaching 50th
street, we decided to walk. We got the the Theater marquee around 1:00
PM. A line already started to form for ticket numbering (When I received
the tickets in the mail, the letter enclosed stated that people should
arrive no earlier than 2 PM to get your tickets numbered, since seating
in the Theater is on a first come-first serve basis. Obviously, people
decided to come early for good seats.) My friends and I waited on line
for an hour just to get our tickets numbered. At 2 PM, a CBS page came
out to begin numbering. Once I reached the page, she gave me number 31.
At the time, I didn't realize how good a number that was, but I was pretty
sure it was a decent number. The page instructed us to return to the theater
to be placed in line order at 4:00 PM. After this was done, my friends
and I went off for lunch.
My ticket to the Late Show on May 14th, 1997
"You've all been a really good audience except for
this guy from Long Island..."
Once I had lunch (At the Stardust diner), I came back to the Theater at
4:00 PM to wait in line again. Like the last time, I waited in line for
an hour. During this hour, CBS Pages would come out and give us the rules
inside the theater. For instance, no one was allowed to go to the bathroom
during the show, so the bathrooms in the theater would be open until 4:45
PM. After 4:45, no one could use the bathroom. Also, special note was given
to the audience not to yell inside the theater because of their super sensitive
microphones above us. At 5:00 PM, the pages finally let us into the theater
to be seated. My friends Chrissie and Jason were seated first row center,
while Jeremy and I were split up from them (I got lucky by getting 4 tickets,
remember) Jeremy and I were directed to the far left of the theater and
seated in the first row, right in front of where the CBS Orchestra would
play. These seats were excellent to view the entire show without having
the camera in the way.
When everyone was seated, the warm-up comedian, Eddie Brill, introduced a video
to us entitled "Dave Talks to Kids." It was a funny video where Dave talks
to young kids about various things. Once this video was completed, Eddie
gave us once again the rules inside the Theater and also got our applause
synchronized (whatever). After this, Eddie introduced everyone in the CBS
Orchestra except Paul Shaffer. The band began performing a mini concert
where two songs were performed. During the middle of the first song, Paul
Shaffer came out to an ovation. He joined in with the band. In person,
the CBS Orchestra is loud, but they're very good. After the mini concert,
Eddie exclaimed "Do you wanna see Dave?" The audience agreed. Eddie once
again screamed "You wanna meet Dave???" Once again, the audience gave the
same approval. then Eddie said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. David Letterman!!!"
Dave came out to a loud ovation.
"Wearing a little something from the Dinty Moore
Dave began his Questions and Answers period by asking if anyone in the
audience was from the Midwest, especially Indiana. A man said he attends
Ball State University, Letterman's Alma Mater. Dave welcomed him to the
show and said he will now speak very slowly. Then Dave opened the floor
for questions. One man from Pennsylvania raised his hand and asked Dave
"Where's Dick Assman?" Dave acknowledged the good question, but had no
answer for the guy. then Dave said, "OK one more quick question." I raised
my hand violently. Dave must have noticed because he pointed to me and
said "Yes sir, in the colorful shirt." (That day I wore a red plaid shirt.
I was hoping to get his attention with it, and I did.) Dave asked me, "What's
your name?" I replied, "My name is Bill." He
said, "Where are you from, Bill." I replied, "Long Island, NY." He then
turned to the audience and said "Ladies and Gentlemen, Bill from Long Island,
New York." I accepted my applause. Dave said after my ovation, "Wow, that's
the biggest ovation all night." He then said, "What's your question, Bill?"
I then proceeded to ask Dave, "Well, I'm in the audience now, and I feel
like I should be doing more. So I ask, since you've seen so many audiences,
how can I be a better Late Show audience member?" I got a couple of chuckles
from the crowd. Dave looks over to me and says, "Well, you can go sit in
the lobby for an hour, you know what I mean? You know what I mean? You're
making us all sick!" When he said the line about the lobby, the crowd erupted
in laughter. So did I. I set myself up for a classic Letterman joke. He then
went off backstage to make his entrance for the big show.
Modeling the shirt
Yes, I brought about a little chuckle from Dave
Dave came out and began his monologue. It was pretty funny. I was
still taken aback, however since I just talked to David Letterman. It's
hard to imagine, but I've been a fan of him for 12 years (Yes, I first
saw him when I was 6 years old.) Well, little did I know, but after Dave's
monologue, he comments, "You know, you folks are a really, really good
audience except for this guy from Long Island..." Dave points at me and
continues, "and you sir, you sir, have been on my back all night. have
a seat in the lobby, No I..." Meanwhile I'm looking at him and giving the
gesture "Why me?" Dave stopped abruptly and then continued,
"Wearing a little something from the Dinty Moore Collection." Unbeknownst to me,
I found out later that when Dinty Moore did advertisements on television,
a man with a red plaid shirt would be their spokesperson. After hearing
this, the joke to me was funnier. Anyway, after Dave's comment, I looked
into the camera and modeled off my shirt in a joking fashion. Dave seemed
to get a little charge out of my mock model work. Now I'm going crazy because
now I've made a man whose made me laugh for so long laugh. I know it sounds
weird, but if you think about it, a person rarely gets the chance to do
what I did. Anyway, after Dave's chuckle, he goes "Get rid of your gum,
get rid of gum, c'mon seriously, get rid of your gum." Before the show
I had to give myself a moment to get rid of my gum
when I went off for lunch, I had it in the back of my mind that if I was going
to get on TV, I would chew gum because I love it when Dave does his old
joke when he takes out an audience member's chewing gum. Dave continued,
"No, no, no, we're not continuing until you get rid of your gum." I held
up my finger and prepared to take out my chewed gum from my mouth. Dave
then went over to Paul Shaffer to get a piece of scrap paper for my gum.
It turns out that scrap paper was the night's monologue.
Well, after getting this paper, Dave approached me and asked me to place
the gum into the paper. after doing so, Dave looked
at me and said "Thank you very much. Enjoy the show." The camera then went
back to me, and I just shrugged to say "What can you do?" At this point
I was numb to what just transpired, but when I look back on it, it was
very memorable. All I could do after Dave took my gum was look into the
camera and shrug my shoulders.
Dave actually came down to get my gum
and dispose of it.
After this incident, the show went on smoothly. David Hyde Pierce,
Dana Delany, and the Spice Girls were OK. The rest of the show was kind
of a blur to me, but I'll never forget my moment in the spotlight that
night. It was surely a memorable evening for me, one I won't forget for
a long time.
What could I do?
Hey, you want to see the video clip I made which shows my appearance
on the program? Well, I'm sorry to say that until Macintosh gets the right
drivers, you can't see this clip on a Mac, but if you have Windows 3.1
or above, click here
to get it. It's a 2.24 MB AVI file. Enjoy!!! P.S. - If you see an error
message from this file, then yneed a new driver codec. Download
the drivers from Intel right here. Enjoy again!