My night with Dan at Letterman
Last night Dan was a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman. We got to go with Dan, hang in the green room before the taping and then sit front-row balcony for the show. Paul Shaffer and the band came out pre-show and played some songs. Just before the show started, Dave literally sprinted out, grabbed a mic and started working the crowd. The stage manager called out, ’10 seconds.’ Dave sprinted backstage, turned and came out for the opening monologue. Later in the show Dan did a great segment with Dave and then we headed out onto the streets post show.
For me, last night was both surreal and fantastic at the same time. I’ve been watching Dave since his show started in early 1982. I was in seventh grade and I had to sneak a black and white portable TV into my room to watch it late night. I continued to watch Dave nightly throughout high school…therefore not getting much sleep each night. I would pay attention in class, but when study hall came around, I was out…zzzzzz. I got yelled at by some of my teachers because of this and I actually explained to one of them that watching Letterman was important to me and was what I wanted to be part of someday. It may have been a BS excuse, but it also had some truth to it. I loved Letterman’s show, the snarkyness, ‘Stupid Human Tricks’, ‘throwing stuff off a five story tower’ and I knew that was the general direction I wanted to go; somewhere in media/entertainment.
During college, I still watched Dave, but I also spent a lot of time watching SportsCenter….nightly. Sometimes I would watch Dan and Keith on the live 11 p.m. SportsCenter and then watch at least one of the late-night replays. I worked at the school paper and radio station writing and talking/producing sports. It never seemed like work, I was going to watch sports anyway. Why not have a job where you get to do just that? In 2002 at ESPN I started working with Dan on his radio show and to this day, I still shake my head at how I went from my fraternity house watching Dan on Sportscenter in the 90’s, to spending the better part of the past decade producing The Dan Patrick Show.
So to be in Letterman’s studio in NYC seeing DP and Dave on TV together was a surreal-cool mix of the two broadcasters I spent an inordinate time watching. The only thing that could have topped it would have been if Dave would have let me put on the Velcro suit and trampoline onto the Velcro wall.