DaveCon2K Button
The offical DaveCon2000 button, given out by Traci

On Thursday, June 22nd, 2000, I, Bill Lehecka, made my ninth trip to see the "Late Show with David Letterman" in New York City.

For those who have not been keeping up with my Late Show Impressions, I graduated the University of Dayton on May 7th, 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Right before I graduated, however, members from the alt.fan.letterman newsgroup (AFL) wanted to get a Dave Convention type of thing going. Thus, the creation of DaveCon 2000.

OK, we stole the title from the Conan people who have their ConeCon, but still, it's a cool title, so lay off...

Back to my story, AFL wanted to see Dave together, so we put our collective heads together and picked a mutually agreeable date. Well, that's not what really happened. You see, Renee got us tickets for June 22nd, and we liked it, so THERE!

I'm drifting here, so let's get back on topic. To make a long story short (too late), AFL was planning on meeting in NYC for the June 22nd taping. I was pumped. I was ready. I was in the zone. Well, I was, until I realized at that point that I will have graduated the University of Dayton and might have a job at that point. How weird would it be to ask my new boss for time off just a couple of week into my job?
"If you have any questions about Dayton, OH, I'm the guy to call, all right?"
--David Letterman, in reference to our
conversation before the show.

Well, after I got my job with Virtual Flow, I asked my boss, Kariann, if I could have some time off on June 22nd and 23rd because I had this event planned for four months in advance. She agreed to it.

Now that I've caught you up, let's go though this day-by-day:

June 21st, 2000 - I'm just about to leave work at 3 PM in Saratoga Springs to travel down to Long Island to stay with my sister. Right before I leave, my boss, Kariann, comes up to me. We get into a conversation about Dave and how for two years she thought he was the cutest, hottest guy on TV. She tells me to have a great time in New York. She also leaves me with this parting advice: "Give a kiss to Dave for me." Now at this point, I give her the crooked grin, but then I shake it off and think nothing of it. This part of my story is important, so remember it as you read on.

After eating lunch at a Burger King, I make my way down to the Island. Now if you recall my Eighth Trip Report, it rained like we needed to rebuild Noah's Ark. This year, it was damn windy! I can't count how many times I thought my car was going to be blown off the road. It was unbelievable. Why do I have to travel in such adverse conditions?

Well, I finally got to my sister's apartment safe and sound. I set up a VCR so I could tape the show, since I would be doing Impressions that night, and went to sleep anticipating the next day.

June 22nd, 2000 - I woke up a shade before 10:15 AM to get myself ready for the day. My sister already made her way to work, so I had to be on my toes this time since I did not want to have a repeat performance of last year (see the Eighth Trip Report for the story). I followed my sister's instructions to the Westbury train station. There, I parked (for $2.50) and bought a round trip ticket to NYC and back (off peak, for $9.50). I got on the train at 11:28 AM, set to arrive in Penn Station at 12:09 PM.
Sid McGinnis' pick
A guitar pick
from Sid McGinnis

Once I arrived at Penn Station, I decided against my usual subway ride from 34th to 50th streets and wanted to walk the route. I must tell you, walking 20 blocks in NYC is like walking from one town to the next. You're walking, and then BAM, Times Square hits. I must say though, the walk was refreshing, and let me burn off a lot of nervous energy. I know. I shouldn't be nervous at this point, but it's anticipatory nervousness. I know this is a stretch, but it's almost like when you're about to get married, but turned down a few degrees.

I arrive at 53rd Street at about 12:35 PM. Pretty brisk walking, I must say. I entered Joe G's Pizza and purchased a slice of sausage pizza and a small Sprite ($3.50). I looked around the back of Joe G's Pizza, looking for any members of AFL, but none had arrived yet. Well, I don't recall when Mark Monroy arrived, but I'm pretty sure I was the first to show up. While enjoying my pizza and soda, I saw a woman looking for a group of people, I call to her and say "AFL?" She looks back and says yes. Turns out it's CathyD888. She sits next to me and waits for the troops to arrive. I notice Mark soon after. Then Renee showed up (sadly with no rats). More AFL'ers showed up. I knew Sally Drell arrived once she grabbed my arm with the force of a vice grip.

Once the group started to get larger, it was high time for us to go to a bigger meeting area. The group that arrived early all moved upstairs. Pretty soon, the bulk of AFL showed up. It kind of reminded me of the red carpet at a big Hollywood event. "Look, there's FOXYSCRIBE... Oooh, here comes Kathie Freeman... What are you wearing, Ms. Freeman... Oh screw it, here comes the major star, Brad Hill! His outfit says time to party, but he exudes the feeling of 'Let's do Lunch.'"
"Where the hell is my 'Cal-zone-ay?'"
--Traci, the FIRST thing she says to me.

OK, I'm calling off that last paragraph. It could quite possibly be the WORST paragraph I've ever written...

Soon, the "Gang's All Here." Forgive me for some omissions, but we had Brad Hill (who thought it best to greet me with a hug), Renee (no rats), Sally Drell (vice grip), Mark Monroy and his friend Royce (no clever nicknames), Lance (Who I sat next to last year), FOXYSCRIBE, Ann Sweeney, CathyD888, Kathie Freeman, Traci (Where the hell is my "Cal-zone-ay?"), Carl (Mmm... Ovulicious...), Rona, Karen Lynch, Helen Read, Libby and her mom, Kate, myself, and bringing up the rear, Nick (CyberGolem) and Marilyn.

While seating inside Joe G.'s Pizza, soaking up the air conditioning without actually BUYING anything, Renee gives us the letter to present to the Late Show Staff. I chuckle at the guideline that states members of the group should not enjoy pre-show cocktails, since I know ONE of us didn't follow that rule one night... :-) Traci presents us with some gifts. Everyone gets a DaveCon2000 button. Pretty cool. Automatically I'm thinking "At least $50.00 on the eBay..." :-) Next, Brad and Karen present the group with DaveCon2000 T-shirts. During the passing out of shirts, Brad says, "Bill's an Extra Large." Gee, Brad... THANKS! :-)

Once everyone has exchanged pleasantries four the newly acquired gifts, it's time to head off to the theater and get out tickets. While waiting in line, we decide to take a group picture (seen below). You know it makes you wonder... what in the world possessed Carl to purchase a PINK umbrella?

AFL'ers Unite!
The motley crew of AFLers. From l. to r., Nick, Carl (who is
conspicuously hidden with his pink umbrella), Marilyn, Me, Brad,
Libby, Royce (Mark's friend), Kathie (just barely in the picture),
Mark, Lance, Cathy, Karen, Ann, Renee, Shirlee, Kate, and Helen.
Not pictured is Traci, who took this photo.

We head inside the theater to get our tickets. I'm armed with a copy of the letter given to us by Renee and my ID. Turns out we didn't need the ID. I receive my ticket with a big dot on it. It's the first time I've been dotted. Not surprisingly, the experience is a lot like the first time you NOTICE girls.

A subgroup of AFL is then moved to another place where a page clad in a new (to me) Late Show polo T-shirt gives us instructions about what we're going to do, etc. We're then moved to the entranceway, where ANOTHER page greets us. Brad wants the shirt this page is wearing, and the page says he'll give it to Brad for $100. Brad offers to beat up the page. The page gives the FAKEST laugh I've ever heard and said if Brad did that, he'd sick Dominick on him. Anyway, This page gives us more instructions, and we're OFF.
Brad, Nick, and Bill
From l. to r. Brad Hill, CyberGolem
(Nick), and me (Bill Lehecka, AKA OldMatador)

When the whole group meets outside the theater, we're all overwhelmed with one singular thought. GREEN PAGES! It looks like the LS had assigned to them new pages who actually looked like they ENJOYED their job. It was a welcome surprise.

Well, we had about an hour to kill before we had to get in line, so the group decided to go into Joe G.'s Pizza yet again and actually buy something. We purchased a pie and got some beverages. Some members of our group did, in fact, purchase some pre-show cocktails. I decided to go for some Sprite, yet again. While seated inside we swapped some war stories. All the while, cameras decided to snap feverishly. Lunch cost $6.00.

We exited lunch and lined up near the second tree to the left of the theater. Did I mention that this is the first show I've ever attended that taped at 4:30 PM? If I didn't I did now. Lucky for us, Mark and Royce were anchored in the first position. We all congregated behind them, cutting in front of the others lined up. Then a page came up to us and instructed the people she didn't see earlier in line to go to the back. We tried to explain to her that we were all in the same group, but she didn't care. We all came to the same agreement after this incident... NOT SO GREEN PAGE.

We all got in line in front of the non-AFLers. At this point of waiting, I notice Jill Leiderman picking out contestants for Know Your Current Events (KYCE). She totally blew past us, and instead opted to pick NORMAL couples. I couldn't help but notice that one of the people Jill picked looked extremely like Jerry Springer. At this point I led the group in a discussion as to who would be the one who would most likely pick Know Your Cuts of Meat.

Donz drops by for a second, but while he's exchanging pleasantries, we're herded into the theater. Donz just has this sense of timing about him... :-)

The line started to move around 4:00 PM, so we all moved up into the theater. Right before I got in, a page decided to take away Lance's paper. The page said Lance could get it after the show. I said "FAT CHANCE!" Of course, this was to myself because if I said this out loud, I knew I would be accosted by a page.

*WRITER'S EMBELLISHMENT* In fact, I've read the CBS page's manual, and to be a page, you must be skilled in at least 4 of the deadly martial arts, PLUS Tae-Bo. *End of WRITER'S EMBELLISHMENT*

All of us stood in line in the inner lobby, enjoying the air conditioning. While on line, I saw a girl who looked hot. I looked over to Nick and said "You know, they should have picked her for KYCE. She's HOT!" Nick then said if that was the case, *I* should have been picked for KYCE. After some nervous laughter, I turned over to Lance for the rest of the evening.
"Dave then asks for any questions. I calmly raised my hand, and all of a sudden, Dave points to me and says "Yes sir, you." When he did this, I heard the song "Oops... I did it Again" in my head.... No, not for this moment, but because the radio stations have INGRAINED this song into my head. I now hear it involuntarily."

While in line, I noticed that the pages were assembling a SEPARATE line. They were going to go into the theater first. An audience member questioned the page, and the page said, "Oh, this is a separate line. Don't worry, you're in a SPECIAL line." Well, my fears have been extinguished!

The first line is escorted up to the balcony. A shallow murmur crept into our line. Were we going to be seated in the balcony? How could they!?!? Not fair! Well, a staffer (Who looked like the Annette Funicello lookalike from Trip Report Number Eight) tells us that since we've demonstrated that we watch the show on a most frequent basis and possess a knowledge of the show, we were going to be seated in the front row. She also told us to laugh at the jokes we get since we watch the show regularly. By doing so, our laughter will spread through the entire theater like malaria. Well, she didn't say malaria, but the symbolism sounded cool at the time.

Did I mention one of the pages looked like Lyle Lovett?

Well, we're escorted into the theater. I am seated, along with the other AFLers, in the center section, center row. Smack dab in the middle of the theater. Unfortunately, this is right behind Dave Dorsett's ass and not near a monitor. No matter, I was going to feel the vibes of the show. This is how to experience the show. While seated, Brad passes out Altoids from Sally Drell. At the time, I thought he was passing out lewds. I don't know what that means.

Eddie Brill comes out to warm up the crowd. Eddie introduced the "Dave talks to Kids" clip I've seen numerous times. In fact, Nick and I were doing our own rendition in the front row. It's still a funny clip, but to the traveled Late Show veteran, it's old.

Eddie does his usual warm up schtick. I can time the "big bullshit ploy" line perfectly. Nothing new of note to go over. Eddie then introduces the band. Will's absent this week because he went over to Japan to perform. Therefore, no opening Basketcase. I'm sure the band enjoyed that. Paul comes out near the end of the first song, and we're all set. The second song played, and everything was good.

Eddie's all set to introduce Dave, and before he even gets a chance to, Dave comes sprinting out at 4:28 PM. Our sections gets up for a standing O. Dave, being the type that gets tired of the standing O's asked us to return to our seats. Dave asks if there's anyone from out-of-town, then asks if anyone's from Indiana. Normal stuff. So far the preshow's going well. Dave then asks for any questions. I calmly raised my hand, and all of a sudden, Dave points to me and says "Yes sir, you." When he did this, I heard the song "Oops... I did it Again" in my head.... No, not for this moment, but because the radio stations have INGRAINED this song into my head. I now hear in involuntarily.
Questions about Dayton?
Dave pleads for questions about Dayton, OH

Dave asks for my name, and I say, "My name's Bill Lehecka." Dave noticed that my hat says U.D. on it. I tell Dave, "I recently graduated from the University of Dayton." Dave then starts to rattle off knowledge of Dayton. He's 100% accurate in his facts. Dave wonders aloud what the nickname of the school is, and I say, "We're the Flyers." "Dayton Flyers." So basically, Dave and I had a conversation for about a minute or so about the Dayton, Ohio area. Dave then cuts our exchange short by saying, "I'll get back to you." and moves off stage for the show to begin. I never had the chance to ask my question.

What was my question? Well, remember when my boss Kariann wanted me to give a kiss to Dave while I was at the show? Well, I was going to ask Dave what I should do about this predicament. I thought it would be a cute question. I in no way WANTED to kiss Dave; it was just a directive from my boss that I wanted to discuss with Dave. I needed guidance as to how I could handle it. So now you know.

The show started. I won't get into the finer points of the show, since I've discussed it in Late Show Impressions #72. I will however, discuss important elements to this article.
There I am, for the second time.

Dave comes out to begin the show. Dave introduces himself to the audience and says, "If you have any questions about Dayton, OH, I'm the guy to talk to." The camera cuts to a shot of me applauding. You can see in frame Lance (to my left) Nick, (to my right), and Marilyn (next to Nick). I was pretty excited. I started to waive two fingers downward to signify my second appearance on the show. I was very excited about it.

What? You missed it? Go see it here!

Dave brought up the Dayton, OH issue again in ACT 2. The camera cut to ANOTHER shot of me. However, this exchange was edited for broadcast because the Survivor gal, Ramona, took WAYYYY TOOOO LOOONNGGG!

The show ended, and we were escorted out of the theater. On my way out, an audience member says that I've become a celebrity. Dominick, one of the security guys looks at me and says "Dayton, OH, ey?" He's got a grin on his face. At least I haven't angered the man...

The AFL group gathers outside the theater to talk about the show experience. We then discuss what our questions to Dave would have been. Everyone was really pumped about the show that we just saw.

Maria Pope and Bill Lehecka
Maria Pope and I

Our group decided to wait outside the theater and talk to anyone outside. We ran into Al Chez (Who turns out to be an avid reader of this newsgroup. Hi Al!), Sid McGinnis (who initially, in a moment that will be frozen in time for all eternity, was stopped by Brad, who ran after him. In doing so, Brad summoned up the powers of the gods and commanded traffic in front of him to halt.), Felicia, Tom "Bones" Malone, Andrea Sande, and Maria Pope (To the left). While loitering, we found out that 4 of the 8 band members agree that the CBS Mailbag jingle is sacks and sacks.

Tony Mendez was out, but had to rush back into the theater. Mike McIntee was nowhere to be found, even after I saw him in the theater.

Our loitering continued inside the CBS Store. I have no idea how they sell ANYTHING since their staff is so RUDE! Unbelievable.

Our group loitered some more, this time outside the front of the Ed. We got pictures in front of the marquee. Below is a picture of Brad and me. Brad, if you couldn't tell, is the one on his knees. Ummm, I'll leave it at that.

At around 7:15 PM, what was left of our group headed on over to Carmine's on 44th Street. We waited about 15 minutes to get in. We were allowed in at 7:50 and were seated at a large table. I sat next to Brad. Hey, it's not everyday you sit next to someone who kneels before you voluntarily.

We were served HUGE portions of food at this family-style restaurant. We had salad, Stuffed Mushrooms (I loved them, even if I only ate the stuffing), Manicotti, Eggplant Lasagna, Rigatoni, Pasta, Chicken Marsala, Shrimp Scampi, and a huge desert. Lots of food. Lots of good stuff. I especially liked the Chicken Marsala. Donz met us for dinner, and it was the first time I was formally introduced to the legend.

During dinner, I think Kathie opened up CB's Mailbag. People started to write to Cyber queries, similar to when Nick does his gig during off weeks. Some of us send in some good one, and then I decide to send in a whopper. I won't repeat it here. I'll ask it during the next CB's Mailbag.
Brad Hill and Bill Lehecka
Brad kneels before me. Look at that girl
on the left admiring my hero worship.

After a great dinner and good times with AFL'ers, it was time for me to leave at 10:15 PM. I left with CathyD888 to Penn Station. We walked from 44th to 34th. I got to Penn Station at 10:27 PM and took the 10:32 PM train home. The trip was over. History had been made.

I must say, of all the trips to the Ed Sullivan Theater, this one will always stick out in my mind as being special. Even if I didn't get in TV, I would have ranked this as my second favorite trip (the first being my Second Trip). It was a pleasure being in the company of all of you. I hope we have a similar experience in the coming years. The people who put this together did a magnificent job. Thanks again.

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