Monday, September 9, 2013

David Letterman vs. Steve Harvey

Back in 2002, Joe and I were in the middle of a long-distance relationship when I was living in New York.  He would fly out several times a month from Chicago and I would do the reverse.  Being the wonderful girlfriend that I was, I tried to keep things fun for each visit.  On one such occasion, we were happily exploring Manhattan and hit The Soup Kitchen. 

Perhaps you know it better by its Seinfeld name.  Yes, this was the infamous "Soup Nazi."

No soup for you!

While balancing our soup and bananas (seriously, the Soup Nazi doles out bananas...not very Third Reich-ish if you ask me), a young pair approached us with uncommon zest and blinding smiles.  Naturally, we figured we were about to be mugged.

"HEY GUYS!!  Want tickets to see Dave Letterman?  All ya hafta do is answer one question about Dave and YOU'RE IN!"

Joe and I were not used to this much pep and froze.  The pair continued, undeterred.

"Ok, so your question is: What Indiana university did Dave attend?"

My husband shook his head in surrender, fully prepared to miss out on the taping because he hadn't the foggiest idea of the answer.

I, on the hand, am a trivia goddess.  I also happened to have a friend who once reminded me daily that Dave Letterman went to her school.

"Ball State!  The answer is BALL STATE!" I cried out.

And just like that, we were off to attend our first taping of a television show.

I remember it well.  As we walked in, you were either directed upstairs or downstairs based on how enthused you looked.  I was immediately directed towards the front because of my stupidly happy expression.  Sadly, my perpetually grouchy-looking husband was directed to the very back row.  I struggled for a minute against the urge to abandon him to his nosebleed seat, but instead sacrificed my front row spot to accompany him. 

True love.

Dave's guest was Michael Douglas.  We sat through a few minutes of crowd warm-up and then Dave came out.  Remembering how my sister talked about her experience as an audience member on Oprah (where she raved about how warm and engaging Oprah had been with her audience), I was interested to see how Dave interacted.

The answer came quickly.

Dave Letterman ignored his audience.  Between breaks, he spoke with his assistants, got his make-up retouched, and never once acknowledged all the people who had come to see him.

I never watched David Letterman again after that.  Nobody puts Baby in a corner.  Or rather in the last row with her grumpy-looking boyfriend.

So when the opportunity to see a taping of Steve Harvey came up, I was a little hesitant.  Yet a couple of my pals were turning 40 within a few weeks, and we decided to make a day of it:

My friend Susan who I met when I was 23 working at the big insurance company.  She was the first person to haul all the other 23 year-old girls out of our cubes to go out to lunch.  She also makes really cool soap (click HERE to see).
My new-ish friend Shannon who was one of my LTYM sisters (to view her performance, click HERE).  She has no idea what a nut-ball I am, so let's just keep that secret, shall we?
I was amazed at how small and intimate the studio was.  Steve Harvey's warm-up guy must drink nothing but Red Bull and espressos.  The man had everyone clapping and dancing for so long, you thought you were in a Zumba class.

And then Steve came out.  I held my breath.  Was he going to pull a Letterman and ignore us, or actually show some kindness and appreciation regarding the fact that so many of us rearranged sitters, carpools, and kids all in an effort to come to his show.

The answer?

Steve was awesome.  We got stories.  Interaction.  Personal attention.

We got some Steve love.

In an era where so many people don't even look up from their gadgets when they are talking to you, Steve Harvey gets it.  His show was delightful, and I can't wait to watch the entire season.

The studio.
So there you have it.  Steve Harvey: 10  David Letterman: Zero.

Next celebrity match-up: Snookie vs. Omarosa


  1. Thanks for taking me along! Steve was hilarious and engaging, especially when the cameras weren't rolling.
    And, for the record, I am completely aware of what a nut-ball you are. I just happen to like nut-balls.

    1. Whew. That is a BIG relief, Voice of the Year! :)

  2. I've never seen Steve Harvey. Then again, other than Breaking Bad, my TV hasn't been on in over 3 months, so there you go. I can totally see Letterman being as you described. And I'm cracking up picturing you with your stupidly happy expression. :)


    1. Breaking Bad...YES! Joe and I just discovered that and are LOVING it! My stupidly happy expression is rather a constant. Better work on it.

  3. OMG I am so disappointed in David.
    He is from the Midwest.
    And his mom is so cute.
    What a d-bag.
    I hope Bethenny is as good as Steve Harvey.
    Or atleast hands out food.

    1. Sorry, Kari! I think there may have been donuts in the waiting room, but by the time we got there, NADA. Here's hoping Bethenny gives you guys something. Maybe a Skinny Girl Margarita?

  4. Omarosa would squish Snookie in one of her stilettos, but Snookie could be armed with a spray tan gun and some hairspray. 50-50 on either of them!

  5. I used to love Letterman...watched him every night. Until the incident. Now he's just gross. Bad Dave! I'm appalled that he ignored his audience- especially your bright shining face. How in the hell do you look so damn cute all the time?
    Bad, bad Dave. I don't think his mom would approve.
    Glad to know that Steve Harvey cares about his fans.

    1. Ah, yes. THE INCIDENT. I used to LOVE Dave, but somewhere along the way, he lost his sense of fun (and fidelity). Bitterness seems to be his thing now.

  6. Look at you, hot momma! Becoming a celebrity, rubbing elbows with celebrities (from your seat in the audience)--no doubt Steve was on his game because he heard you were there. ;)

  7. You know, I can totally see Dave being that way. But what I really took away from this post was this: seriously, the Soup Nazi is real?!!

    1. It is SO REAL! And delicious! The problem is there is nowhere to sit and eat it. The bar across the street won't let you bring in the soup. I think we wound up sneaking into Starbucks so we wouldn't spill.

  8. For some reason I usuaLLy never watch that kind of teleBision anymore, eXcept an occasional stop at Conan. But that is probably because Conan is out in the channel neighborhood in the fifties, and I spend most of my time in our fortys for AMC, FX, and A&E, rarely dropping down into the lower numbers, those teens and single digits. David wasn't in town the times I was in Manhattan.

  9. Kind of sad David Letterman didn't at least try to intermingle with his audience; wonder how many others chose not to watchhim after being in the studio audience? Neat though with Steve Harvey; nice to see some celebrities appreciate the fans who put them where they are at today :)


  10. What a great story. When I was a kid, we moved out of Chicago to Indiana for a few years. Letterman was the local news weatherman. I don't know who Steve Harvey is, but you look great in your pics and I look forward to Snooki vs Omarosa!

  11. You gave up your seat in the front row?