10 Videos That Prove That David Letterman Should Return to Acting

Cabin Boy

Posted by on

Now that David Letterman has thrown his last pencil and sent his Late Show off into TV heaven, everyone is wondering what the gap-toothed comedy legend will do next. Sure, he’ll probably spend some time with the family and show up at NASCAR events. But we wish Dave would bring his grumpy charm to sitcoms and movies as he has done on a few select occasions. The roles below may have been part of Dave paying his dues or maybe they were done as a favor to a showbiz friend. But that doesn’t make them any less hilarious. Here’s proof that Letterman should use his retirement to once again show off his acting chops.

1. Cabin Boy, Old Salt in Fishing Village

Letterman’s cameo as a crusty stuffed monkey salesman in protege Chris Elliott’s cult comedy is easily is most quoted acting role. What movie couldn’t benefit from Letterman chomping on a cigar, just barely committing to the premise? It was also the first time Letterman used the pseudonym “Earl Hofert,” a moniker he reprised for…

2. Beavis and Butt-head Do America, Motley Crue Roadie/Probably Butt-head’s Dad

Yes, that’s Letterman as the former Motley Crue roadie who brags about scoring with some chicks 15 years back in Beavis and Butt-head’s hometown of Hyland. (Assuming he’s telling the truth, does that mean Beavis and Butt-head have the same father? The other roadie does look an awful lot like Beavis…) Letterman was a big fan of the crude duo, often having them on as guests on The Late Show, so it’s fitting that he may be their father.

3. Spin City, Rags the Talking Dog

Michael J. Fox has always been one of Letterman’s favorite guests, which probably explains why he voiced a suicidal dog named Rags on an episode of Spin City. Why didn’t Rags get a spin-off? It would’ve been preferable to the Charlie Sheen Spin City-era.

4. The Nanny, Himself

In the episode “Pen Pals,” quippy domestic Fran Fine is nervous that her pen pal will find out that she isn’t actually an Olympic gold medalist who has appeared on The Late Show. Letterman has a brief cameo as himself in Fran’s fantasy, which suggests that in the Nanny universe, The Late Show would gladly give airtime to a member of a Broadway producer’s house staff.

5. The Building, Thief

Letterman and his Worldwide Pants production company were behind this short-lived sitcom vehicle for actress Bonnie Hunt. Unfortunately, Dave’s cameo as a masked thief wasn’t enough to save The Building from being the first of many critically acclaimed failures on Mrs. Hunt’s resume.

6. Open All Night, Man in Suit

Shortly before he took over the post-Tonight Show slot, Letterman poked fun at his failed morning show in a meta appearance on Open All Night, a short-lived sitcom about a convenience store created by Bob Newhart Show vet Jay Tarses.

7. Peeping Times, Dan Cochran

Ever wonder what Dave would be like as a Daily Show correspondent? Check out his performance as reporter Dan Cochran in this newsmagazine spoof from filmmaker Barry Levinson and actual newsman David Frost. A thinly veiled takedown of 60 Minutes, Peeping Times was filmed as a pilot with Alan Oppenheimer (the voice of Skeletor on He-Man!) as the Mike Wallace stand-in Miles Rathbone and Letterman as his Morley Safer-esque coanchor. Featuring Mel Brooks as Hitler and Christopher Guest on the writing staff, the special is begging to be rediscovered.

8. Mork and Mindy, Ellsworth

1979 was a big year for Dave, as he made numerous TV appearances and starred as a stand-up comic who becomes a talk show host in the forgotten NBC movie-of-the-week Fast Friends. (If anyone has a clip, please let us know!) He also shared a manager with Robin Williams, which explains why the future late night host turned up on an episode of Mork and Mindy as a shady self-help group leader with a penchant for fancy cars and open collars.

9. The Riddlers, Host

Dave showcased his snarky hosting skills on this failed game show pilot which also featured a young Michael McKean.

10. Mary, Cast Member

An awkward attempt to inject some youthful Saturday Night Live-style energy into the staid variety show format, Mary Tyler Moore’s disastrous solo showcase featured a cast of fresh-faced performers that included Michael Keaton, Swoosie Kurtz, and a visibly uncomfortable Letterman. Merrill Markoe, who wrote for Mary and would go on to make TV history with Dave on both his morning show and Late Night, recalls that Letterman and Keaton were forced to perform the YMCA classic “Macho Man” in a half-baked Deliverance parody that made Dave want to “retch.


Watch More

Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

Watch More
Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

Posted by on

End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

Watch More

Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet