Listen up Stephen Colbert! You can learn a lot from the longest-serving late-night host in television history.
Here's what to do (and what not to do) when hosting The Late Show, according to David Letterman.
1. DO come up with clever segments that will become crowd favorites:
Letterman stuck around for so long because he delivered smart and funny content. He came up with one sketch in particular which soon became incorporated into every show: the Top 10 List. The list's topics are inspired by current news or pop culture events and are occasionally read by celebrity guests.
Example: Top 10 Things That Sound Creepy When Said By John Malkovich
2. DON'T push your guests too far:
When Madonna appeared on the program in 1994, the superstar punished Letterman for making jokes about her promiscuity by cursing throughout the interview, much to the dismay of the broadcast host. The 66-year-old also made things uncomfortable with Paris Hilton in 2007 when all he talked about was the heiress' recent jail stint. Suffice it to say, Paris was not happy.
3. DO publicly shame a guest for skipping out on an interview! He'll try to make it up to you:
John McCain canceled his appearance in 2008 at the last minute, citing a financial crisis in D.C. that needed his immediate attention. However, Letterman found out during a broadcast that John had managed to squeeze in a TV interview with Katie Couric before leaving (fast forward to 6:35 to see his reaction). The politician tried to make it up to the host by appearing on his show a month later.
4. DON'T have affairs with your staff members:
In 2009, Letterman confirmed on air he was being blackmailed. The reason? He had had affairs with a few female staffers while in a committed relationship with long-time girlfriend Regina Lasko. The host apologized for his actions during the program.
5. DO play games with your guest that you know will be headline-worthy:
Some of gossip magazines' best material comes from late night TV and Letterman definitely made headlines when he had Justin Bieber on the show in 2011. The host gave the then 17-year-old pop star a geography quiz, which he failed miserably. How badly? Bieber guessed that Canada and the North Pole were continents (FYI: he's from Canada).
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