We used to do Letterman all the
time. When we were Off-Broadway, we were on several times a
year. Morty and Dave really pushed us to do great stuff.
They helped us do some of our coolest TV stuff. It was
always a challenge but really gratifying. When Dave went to
CBS and we went to Vegas, we started being on much less.
Dave's style changed some and so did ours. We're still
finding our groove. The best things we did used to be
directly messing with Dave. But, now, it seems he wants big
We had that for him this shot. We had our Inflatables.
When Goudeau first talked to us about getting giant
inflatables of ourselves made, he talked about it as a
Letterman shot. He wanted a big Letterman inflatable too.
Well, it went into our live show, so we were warmed up by
the time the Letterman people finally went for it.
We finished our show in Vegas on Wednesday night and then, I
checked my mail, and headed to the airport. I played with
my new digital camera and slept on the redeye. We got into
NYC exhausted and then rode in the limo for a couple hours
before getting to the hotel. That only gave us an hour and
a half in the room before rehearsal. That wasn't enough time to
sleep, so I just checked my Email.
Everyone seemed to be happy to see us at Letterman. We
were very comfortable. We were doing the bit with Biff, and
there's no one more charming. Paul and the boys were
playing Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll" so they were very
happy. I kept telling them to play louder. The big suits
got a laugh the second we blew them up. The new (to us)
director is very obsessive with making things look very
clear, so he and Teller really hit it off. We had Nathan,
Krasher, and Stewart on our side making it all go clearly.
We kept running the bit over and over, and it kept getting
better. We were killing with the trick. There were lots of
sound monitor things to clean up so I could be heard by
everyone over the band.
Ron Gomes came by and we went to tea at the St Regis and
talked and laughed and had a fine time. We came back for
the show. As we were getting dressed, we were watching the
monitor. Man, you can say anything you want about TV, and
the talk show format, but Dave is funny. He's just funny.
He's a funny guy.
He did a long interview with Sarah Jessica Parker, so by the
time we hit the stage, we were tight on time. I was really
tired and distracted, and also excited. The bit looked great
and we were rocking along. It was time
for the punchline and I was running. Man, was I running.
It was just time to walk it home and . . . I forgot the
card. Yeah, that's the punchline. I mean, I've never been
a smart man, but I'm usually very on it. But, I was
distracted and I ran on without the card and then ran back
and grabbed it and dropped it and picked it up and ran on
for "Is this your card?" Now, I felt really stupid for
dropping the ball, but . . . well, I always feel like I rush
that cue and I always feel it should be more chaotic and
breathless and we got that. So, let's say, it was my
subconscious using my stupidity to improve our art.
It was a good shot. Dave seemed happy, and the whole staff
seemed happy. So, that's good. I felt stupid and
disconnected. But, I think, as stupid as I feel, it was a
better shot because of my stupidity -- but, hey, what's
wrong with doing something right now and again? Huh?
Our flight out of Newark was cancelled because of wind
(wind? In Vegas we have wind, they don't have wind here),
but we got a flight out of JFK on National "you're lucky we
fly at all" Airlines. Krasher found out it was already 2
hours late before we even left for it, so I went to Times
Square with Ron and we had John's pizza. I was so tired
that some of the time I just stared off into space while I
ate. I was chowing down on a good old John's cheeseless
pizza with anchovies, tomatoes, spinach, olives, and garlic.
It's a nut pizza.
We got the limo and headed to the airport where the flight
was delayed another couple of hours. The flight was filled
with college-aged (but maybe not educated) party people.
They had boomboxes and liquor like you wouldn't believe.
They were ready to Viva it up on the plane. The guy at the
desk was saying stuff over the P.A. like, "I know we're late
and you've been at the bar, but if you're too drunk, we
won't let you on the plane." It was really funny. It was
psychedelic pandemonium. It was a good time to know we were
going to be in First Class. I guess when all the party
people were quieted, and the plane cleaned and turned around
we were about 3 or 4 hours late. This will get us into
Vegas about 3 am I guess. It was a good trip, and a good
shot on Letterman, even though I forgot the card. Of
course, you know, it's not like we do card tricks that
often. What next? Am I going to forget the line, "Is
this your card?" If I keep up this wacky, next will be,
"Good evening, my name is Penn Jillette, this is my partner
Teller we're . . . we're . . . LINE?"
As the other two thirds of Bongos, Bass, and Bob used to
sing, "It ain't no crime to be stupid, but I still get
busted every day." Hey, I was tired. Oh, just shut up,
leave me alone.
I'm writing this on the plane, where I can't seem to sleep,
and I'll be up early tomorrow to work out and then I'm going
to the recording session for If You're So Smart doing "It
Was Just a Virus." I'm not singing and I'm not playing
bass, so I guess they thought it was safe to have me there.
But, I'll be really tired all day, so let's see what other
stupid things I can do.
[Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh - I just ran this Road Penn through spelling
and grammar checking and it flagged "Letterman" as "Gender
specific language" and suggested "Varsity Athlete." How
great is that?]