I wasn’t on THE late show but… It was 1975. I was 24 years old and experimenting with stand-up comedy. I’d recently been the MC for an outdoor concert where I introduced bands and did a newscast comedy bit between sets, much influenced by George Carlin. My best Line was when I announced a newsflash, “The U.S. military has pulled out of Viet Nam.” Even though the US military had pulled out in 1973, much to my surprise, the audience of several hundred stood, cheered, and even threw hats into the air, so I paused and then repeated it. Once again, they cheered. When it quieted, I hit them with the punch line, “They’re in Cambodia now.”
The Late Show
In 1975 Dave Letterman worked for a local Indianapolis TV station; he did the weather and other assignments. He also hosted a late-night movie named, Freeze Dried Movies, “…a low-budget film showcase that aired so late (2 a.m.) the station really didn’t care what he did—and neither did Letterman. Regardless of what movie might be showing, the host would tell viewers they were watching When Godzilla Ate Detroit. In his second episode, he celebrated the show’s tenth anniversary.” — https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/64188/david-letterman-show-no-one-watched.
I don’t recall how I ended up on the show, but I did. I only appeared once because the next week, Dave quit, moved to L.A., and the rest is history. My bit was a take-off on a local commercial from an Indianapolis furniture store that ended every TV commercial with several people in succession shouting, “Be smart, buy now!”
I sat in an overstuffed armchair with a fake potted plant beside me. I introduced myself as Herman P. Croucher of Croucher Mortuaries and serenely listed this week’s burial specials. You’ve probably guessed how I ended the bit. Yep, “Be smart, die now.”
Near the show’s end, I walked past Dave and another guest and did a pratfall. I was pretty good at it. I’d slip on a piece of paper or the corner of a carpeted area in a public place, do a complete flip, and land on my back and buttocks, moaning. I thought it was funny.
I didn’t know that the news crew was directly below us filming a news segment. The fall shook the floor, which was their ceiling. I later heard that in the newsroom it reverberated like a sonic boom, the lights were swinging, and the crew wondered if Indiana was experiencing an earthquake. Nope, it was me. I think I’m funny.
And there’s a book of humor
Want to read a collection of humor pieces? Writing I Think I’m Funny: and it gets me in trouble all the time has been a labor of love. Of the 47 stories in this book, more than 30 are true tales from my days on this planet. Most of those make it clear how my warped sense of humor gets me in trouble.