In our latest tribute to David Letterman, we go back to August of 1985. In the above clip, Dave is miffed that his 3rd anniversary show saw little promotional power compared to a special version of The Today Show, both shows of course on NBC. During the taping of a prime-time episode of The Today Show, Dave uses a bullhorn to heckle the hosts from a window, high above. Back then, the hosts were Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley. Though both hosts were somewhat bewildered at the interruption (they were conducting an interview at the time), Gumbel was furious at Letterman after he discovered who was behind the outburst.
The media has always mentioned this was the start of a feud between Gumbel and Letterman but I’ve always viewed it as a very one-sided deal, with mainly Gumbel mad at Dave. As this was many years ago, there is no animosity between the two now, as evidenced by this interview.
This wasn’t the first celebrity that Letterman got riled up and it certainly wasn’t the last. Dave was especially brave and daring in the 80s. Finally, if you’re curious as to what the interruption looked like on The Today Show end, click here.