Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Prime-Time Celebration: The Best of Letterman

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Prime-Time Celebration: The Best of Letterman

Article excerpt

DAVID Letterman has clearly hit his prime.

In fact, he crashes CBS prime time at 9 tonight with his "Late Show Video Special."

All normal Americans stand back.

Reprising classic video segments from 15 months of "Late Show," Letterman's prime-time hour includes such favorites as Dave and Paul golfing with a Sumo-wrestler caddy, Dave and Zsa Zsa Gabor on an LA fast-food pigout, and a blue-smocked Dave filling drive-up orders at McDonald's ("The CBS deal went away," Dave explains through the curbside intercom).

More than a compilation, Dave's special was taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater before a live audience (it remains unclear how many in attendance were normal Americans) and features many surprises, including, Letterman says, "a huge, huge star."

All in all, an outstanding show, eh, Dave?

"I could just flat-out lie to you and say, `Yeah, it's great,' " replies the preternaturally cautious Letterman during a recent chat. "On the other hand, I have not seen the finished product yet. But we're hopeful."

Hopeful, schmopeful. Have a shot of hot sauce, Dave, and chill out.

Indeed, in his office on the 12th floor of the Ed Sullivan Building, Letterman has a shelf display of two dozen brands of hot sauce. And they're not there just for show.

"I love food that does something to you other than make you fat," Dave explains. "I like to interact with my food: You bite it, it hurts you back."

That calls for hot sauce.

Hot-sauce tastings with F.O.D. (Friends of Dave) is a tradition that goes back to Letterman's NBC "Late Night" era.

"Rob Burnett, the head writer, and Robert Morton, our producer, and other members of the staff, we see who can get the hottest pepper concoction," says Letterman, warming to the subject. "Then we take turns eating it, just for the experience.

"We got hold of these Scotch bonnet peppers, without question the hottest, most powerful thing that I have eaten in my entire life. …

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