Film and TV

Stupid Audience Tricks: Seeing Dave, Part One

I got this call at work two weeks back. It was someone asking me if I wanted tickets to go see David Letterman. Now, it's been a longtime goal of mine to see David Letterman's show in person. Late Nite or Late Show, either one, doesn't matter. Whatever Dave's doing now. Heck, if Dave wants to go back to his morning show (which I used to play hooky from school just to catch), I'd sit in for that, too. So when I was asked, I did what any fan would do. I accused the caller of fucking with me.

She assured me that she was legit, and asked me if I'd filled out a form requesting tickets. I had, back when I first found out I was going to be in New York City for a conference, but still, I didn't expect them to call me. I kept talking to them, starting to dare to believe that it was for real—she was giving me lots of detail—but I was also waiting for the other shoe to drop. Finally, she told me that I had to call another number, and leave a message there so someone could call me back to ask a trivia question to get the tickets.

Okay, I thought. Here's the catch. So I asked her: the number is going to be somewhere in the Bahamas or something, and it'll charge me $99 a minute to leave my message and wait for the call, right? She laughed, said that would be a pretty good racket, and then suggested that I might have trust issues. Which is exactly what I'd expect a good Bahamian con-artist to tell me.

But I called anyway. The number was a 212 area code, and this is Dave, after all. Worth the risk.

And as it turned out, it wasn't a risk at all. Another Late Show person called me back, and asked me my trivia question. I'd been worrying about the trivia question, too. If they asked me who the musical guest was two nights before, or something like that, I was screwed. So I figured I'd have an alternative question to offer. If I didn't know the answer to the question they asked me, I'd say, "I don't know, but why don't you ask me what the name of Rupert Gee's deli is?" It was worth a try. But as it turned out, I didn't need the alternate question, because the question she asked me was: what's the name of Rupert Gee's deli? Serious kismet happening here. So I answered (the Hello Deli, of course), and silently thanked the generous deities of television goodness.

The weird thing was that, based on the conversations I had with a couple of dozen others in line for the show (the lines…oh, the lines…), I was the only one to get that question. Everyone else got asked what instrument Paul Schaffer plays, which is so stupid-simple that I can't fathom who'd get it wrong. My parents know that Paul Schaffer plays the keyboard (though some said organ, and some said piano, but all those were acceptable, apparently). That's like asking what state Dave is from (Indiana) or who the stage manager is (Biff Henderson). Please. These aren't fans. They're people who've managed to barely pay attention to entertainment in the past 30 years. But I digress.

I had my tickets. They were guaranteed. I was on Jaime's Gold List for Wednesday, January 30th. This was actually happening. I was going to see Letterman. It was going to be a very good day. -- Teague Bohlen

Check back in tomorrow as superfan Teague Bohlen gets even closer to being able to die happy.

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Sean Cronin