David Letterman (b. 1947) is an award-winning American television host, comedian, writer, producer, and actor. In 1982 Letterman became host of the NBC television program Late Night (a show which was handed over to Conan O'Brien after Letterman's move to CBS). In 1993, Letterman moved to CBS to become host of the Late Show (a show which was handed over to Stephen Colbert in 2015 after Letterman's retirement). Letterman's band leader throughout his talk show career was Paul Shaffer.

Letterman got his start in show business as a weatherman in Indiana before making his move to California to be a comedy writer. Performing stand-up comedy at The Comedy Store, he got his first major break as a cast member on Mary Tyler Moore's variety show Mary. Guest appearances on Mork & Mindy and game shows followed, leading to numerous appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In 2013, Letterman surpassed friend and mentor Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late night talk show host in American TV history. In total, Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes over a period of 33 years.

Letterman has also made guest cameos on Murphy Brown, Seinfeld, The Dana Carvey Show, The Nanny, and the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon. He hosted the 67th Annual Academy Awards and appeared as one of the stars in Night of 100 Stars. Letterman appeared in an episode of Hollywood Squares in the 1970s that also featured Big Bird (footage from this appearance was featured in the 2014 documentary I Am Big Bird).

During a 1984 appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, Jack Paar took David Letterman down the hall to reveal the Muppet pipes. Upon seeing the pipes, Letterman questioned Paar, "How long did you keep this poor guy waiting in here, Jack?"

Behind the scenes, Letterman served as a producer on the Sesame Street television specials Families Stand Together and When Families Grieve.


  • Letterman and the "Late Show" was spoofed by Kermit the Frog with "Too Late for Kermit Letterfrog" in Kermit the Frog's 1996 Advertising Parodies! calendar.
  • A female Muppet character spoofed Letterman's well-known "Top Ten List" presentation in the Muppet Meeting Film "Top Ten Reasons to Take a Break".
  • David Letterman was mentioned in both of the 'Johnny Fiama Show' sketches of Muppets Tonight. In episode 106, Clifford hopes that Johnny wasn't doing a Letterman rip-off, then Johnny says the last two of his "Top Ten Reasons Chicks Dig Me" list, a reference to Letterman's "Top Ten List". In episode 210, Johnny says the critics are saying his show's a rip-off of David Letterman.
  • In a recurring Sesame Street sketch, "Baby Talk", Natasha would throw her rattle out the window, followed by a crash sound effect, referencing Letterman's habit of tossing his note cards or pencils and playing a similar crash sound effect.
  • Letterman was parodied on Sesame Street with the Muppet character David Letterguy.
  • In "A Tail of Two Piggies", Piggy says "Letterman doesn't work at the post office."

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