VHS Review (Posted on 02-05-2014)
No, it's not a misprint nor is it a leaked release. It's real: known as "Mr. Comedy," Jay Leno makes a guest appearance at Late Night with David Letterman
, originally aired on NBC. The first episode was Jay's appearance back in 1984 and the second episode was his appearance in 1990. Reason is quite a big deal: ever since he replaced Johnny Carson, Jay Leno has always been in competition with late night hosts, and that does include David Letterman (later moving to CBS). Having kept Late Night
on NBC's network came the arrival of a new man named Conan O'Brien
. The rest is history.
Nevertheless, Jay did sit in the same room with David Letterman. I doubt the same thing will happen with radio personality Howard Stern
, but if you can keep your friends close and your enemies closer, then it's only a matter of time. Other than that, seeing Jay on Letterman's show should spark a huge interest to fans of late night programming.
The first episode on the tape dates back May 14, 1984. Introducing as "the man who's been kicked out of better places than this" is David Letterman! David does a brief monologue about Mother's Day and introducing the late night band led by the
Paul Shaffer, who's been the man of the band for many years with Letterman. They both talked about how their weekends were. Then after, Letterman does a segment called "Bad Phone Calls" where random audience members introduce themselves and who to make a phone to—preferably someone they know but never told that they'd get a call from Letterman. First was Mark from Dobsberry, wanting David to call his roommate that he'll be moving leaving out the bills and taking some utilities with him. Second was Tony from Maryland, who plans to get rid of his bass player from their band. And finally, Laurice whose daughter is an insatiable spender, wants her to cut down on expenses, get a job and focus on school. Letterman decides to call Laurice's daughter, telling her to stop spending, find time to work and focus on school.
Next is the introduction of Letterman's guest, who's a funny man and will be performing at a comedy club: Jay Leno! Right away, you see a slender build, all black hair and a teenage-voiced Leno, who couldn't be any more proud being a guest on Letterman's show (imagine seeing that happening today). Jay talks about his house getting robbed, Elvis and jokes about life on other planets and why aliens always stop by Earth. Later, Leno discusses General Motors & Mr. Goodwrench and cars. Letterman mentions that Jay signed a three-book deal and unveils them with the following titles: Love At Late Night
, The Melman
and The Comedian
, while Jay reads small snippets from the books themselves.
Letterman's second guest is the beautiful Lauren Hutton. She talks about her wardrobe, beer and arriving back from Tibet, having admitted she's never traveled there. Letterman hilariously shows his cue card listed on what to question Hutton about, and why he had to ask her about Tibet. Going forward, Hutton talks about the origin of lipstick in Egypt and tiny feet in China.
Second episode features a brand new introduction. What was interesting, as the show takes place in New York, was the zooming in on the World Trade Center and a quick look inside the building. "Here's your host, the big broadcast boy," David Letterman, as he performs his monologue. Unlike programs from the eighties, Letterman's monologue was a bit longer (today's Late Show with David Letterman
on CBS is a full 10-minute monologue) compared to the previous episode; This episode aired on October 11, 1990. Letterman's monologue jokes about ABC's 20/20
, and coffee and heart disease, as Paul introduces their new bass guitar player Noel Redding—a bassist from The Jimi Hendrix Experience
. What caught my ears was Letterman mentioning, that time, that Good Morning America
drew higher ratings than the NFL's season-ending Super Bowl
. I believe it's WWE now trying to secure the spot for highest-rated show on television in competition with the NFL (which I'm certain will happen).
The segment features Letterman doing his own McMillions game (an amusing tribute to his last guest) by having three pay phones ring, and waiting for a stranger to pick one of them up. Prior to that, the camera pans a shot of New York itself, including Radio City Music Hall and the Exxon building. After a few hilariously failed attempts, a man named Keith picks up the phone! Unfortunately, he works for the network but Letterman decides to award him with the McMillions prize anyway.
Next segment is everyone's favorite: Top Ten! No introduction and/or comment needed:
Top Ten: 20/20 Shows Currently in Production on ABC
10. What Irving Berlin has been up to since he died
09. A chat with a man on the B Train who used to be president of the United States
08. Billy, Hitler's talking dog who looks just like a person but he's a dog really
07. The New Jersey Nets visit the White House
06. Where is he now? Former Senator Dan Quayle
05. The inventor of the telephone--Norman Telephoneman
04. A lady with two dinosaurs in her yard. No, wait--did I say two? It's three at least!
03. Fact Checkers: Never had 'em. Never will!
02. Shirley MacLaine says "I was Buckwheat!"
01. A guy from Pluto
Letterman's first guest, known as "Mr. Comedy" and to promote his gig at Avery Fisher Hall, is none other than Jay Leno! Looking at Jay, he looks a little bit like he does today, except he had more black hair. Jay talks about his nightmare flight NBC is providing him to travel to the MGM Grand, and why it's too luxurious for him. In addition, Jay talks about his approaches with the people on the plane, how a man thought he was an athlete and how a guy gave him $180. Jay quickly added that he's a fill-in for Johnny Carson when he's unable to host The Tonight Show
. Jay also talks about his wife Mavis, traveling to Cleveland and New Orleans and, my favorite, getting a Cadillac Lincoln for his dad on Father's Day, while talking cars (as Jay is a huge fan of cars and motorcycles).
Second guest was The Amazing Kreskin, who uses psychology to perform magic-like card tricks. After, Letterman mentions that 64% of kids would live in Mars if they had to (where are those kids now?), introducing a funny segment Al Mahar's Science Nook
. Al tells the kids which one of them wants to live in Mars then provides them with Sneaker Phones. Last guest of the show was Fred Sosebbe, whose tickets from McDonald's McMillions game saved his life. Witness his story for yourself.
There are no credits on the tape, but nonetheless, the key part of this volume was the appearance of Jay Leno. Having hosted The Tonight Show
for decades, his departure will never be forgotten. I'm not sure what'll hold in store for Leno, but with Conan having hosted, then soon to be Fallon, I doubt Jay will completely leave television. If anything, I was actually enjoying his show The Jay Leno Show
which was a series that didn't last long. I like to see that revived (if Jay is up to it). Having made millions from being a late night host, getting hit with hate and feuds from other late night hosts, Jay Leno endured and he deserved all the best.
Being a long-time rival, after NBC overlooked him, David Letterman still continues his late night show on CBS. On this volume, no musical guests were featured on the episodes, but it's good enough for fans to enjoy true late night entertainment. I'm sure Letterman had/has something to say about Leno's departure but I'm sure he also recalls inviting Leno as a guest on his show, shown on this tape. Despite the blackmail scandal years back, Letterman continues to provide laughs along with Paul Shaffer as Late Show with David Letterman
continues and stays strong.
Whether you're a fan of Letterman or late night shows, this is an excellent volume to have (great collector's item as well). And for those who are Leno fans, give this volume a shot seeing him and Letterman in the same camera shot, talking and laughing it up. Who knows, history may repeat itself.
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© 2008-2019 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
in Association with
© 1984 National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
in Association with
LATE NIGHT and
LATE NIGHT with DAVID LETTERMAN
are trademarks of NBC
© 1990 National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.