alg-letterman-leno-jpgI had the unique opportunity to be in the studio audience for both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as the Late Show with David Letterman.

Both were such different experiences. Certainly watching Amy Grant and Vince Gill perform on The Tonight Show was incredible and then to go backstage to meet up with them, which also meant standing in a small hallway while Melanie Griffith walked by was pretty surreal.

But the Letterman experience…

It was 10 years ago I got to sit front row for Letterman in the Edu Sullivan Theater. While waiting for the theater doors to open while standing in line inside the lobby, I was struck by the simplicity of the aesthetics of this historic place. I recall dim lights, white walls, and a small framed picture of Ed Sullivan hanging there on the wall.

As the interns came out to pump up the crowd awaiting the band to start, the doors to open, and then to find our seats, you could literally feel the electricity start to amp up the place.

When that time finally came, I was blown away at the electric feel you got walking into the theater while the band was playing. It was the kind of electricity that was intoxicating to the point of all you could do was just laugh at anything and everything.

Maybe that’s why we were selected to be in the front row. They wanted all of the goofballs that couldn’t stop laughing up front. Better for TV.

I don’t remember much about that night other than Ice Cube was a guest along with two guys out in the alley tasked with watching a bowl of water in the sub freezing temperatures. They were to report to Dave the moment the water became ice.


For certain, Letterman and Leno will be missed. But for me, the king of late night will always be Johnny Carson. But these two experiences will forever go down as some of the most fun I have ever had.