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David Letterman's Opening Monologue
David Letterman Show | 9-19-01 | D. Letterman

Posted on 09/19/2001 1:34:49 PM PDT by PaulJ

David Letterman's remarks on September 17, 2001...

cold opening and applause

Thank you very much.

Welcome to the Late Show. This is our first show on the air since New York and Washington were attacked, and I need to ask your patience and indulgence here because I want to say a few things, and believe me, sadly, I'm not going to be saying anything new, and in the past week others have said what I will be saying here tonight far more eloquently than I'm equipped to do.

But, if we are going to continue to do shows, I just need to hear myself talk for a couple of minutes, and so that's what I'm going to do here.

It's terribly sad here in New York City. We've lost five thousand fellow New Yorkers, and you can feel it. You can feel it. You can see it. It's terribly sad. Terribly, terribly sad. And watching all of this, I wasn't sure that I should be doing a television show, because for twenty years we've been in the city, making fun of everything, making fun of the city, making fun of my hair, making fun of Paul... well...

So, to come to this circumstance that is so desperately sad, I don't trust my judgment in matters like this, but I'll tell you the reason that I am doing a show and the reason I am back to work is because of Mayor Giuliani.

Very early on, after the attack, and how strange does it sound to invoke that phrase, "after the attack?", Mayor Giuliani encouraged us -- and here lately implored us -- to go back to our lives, go on living, continue trying to make New York City the place that it should be. And because of him, I'm here tonight.

And I just want to say one other thing about Mayor Giuliani: As this began, and if you were like me, and in many respects, God, I hope you're not. But in this one small measure, if you're like me, and you're watching and you're confused and depressed and irritated and angry and full of grief, and you don't know how to behave and you're not sure what to do and you don't really... because we've never been through this before... all you had to do at any moment was watch the Mayor. Watch how this guy behaved. Watch how this guy conducted himself. Watch what this guy did. Listen to what this guy said. Rudolph Giuliani is the personification of courage.

applause

And it's very simple... there is only one requirement for any of us, and that is to be courageous, because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And I believe, because I've done a little of this myself, pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing. He's an amazing man, and far, far better than we could have hoped for. To run the city in the midst of this obscene chaos and attack, and also demonstrate human dignity... my God... who can do that? That's a pretty short list. The twenty years we've been here in New York City, we've worked closely with police officers and the fire fighters and...

applause

...and fortunately, most of us don't really have to think too much about what these men and women do on a daily basis, and the phrase New York's finest and New York's bravest, you know, did it mean anything to us personally, firsthand? Well, maybe, hopefully, but probably not. But boy, it means something now, doesn't it? They put themselves in harm's way to protect people like us, and the men and women, the fire fighters and the police department who are lost are going to be missed by this city for a very, very long time. And I, and my hope for myself and everybody else, not only in New York but everywhere, is that we never, ever take these people for granted... absolutely never take them for granted.

applause

I just want to go through this, and again, forgive me if this is more for me than it is for people watching, I'm sorry, but uh, I just, I have to go through this, I'm...

The reason we were attacked, the reason these people are dead, these people are missing and dead, and they weren't doing anything wrong, they were living their lives, they were going to work, they were traveling, they were doing what they normally do. As I understand it (and my understanding of this is vague at best), another smaller group of people stole some airplanes and crashed them into buildings. And we're told that they were zealots, fueled by religious fervor... religious fervor. And if you live to be a thousand years old, will that make any sense to you? Will that make any Goddamned sense? Whew.

I'll tell you about a thing that happened last night. There's a town in Montana by the name of Choteau. It's about a hundred miles south of the Canadian border. And I know a little something about this town. It's 1,600 people. 1,600 people. And it's an ag-business community, which means farming and ranching. And Montana's been in the middle of a drought for... I don't know... three years? And if you've got no rain, you can't grow anything. And if you can't grow anything, you can't farm, and if you can't grow anything, you can't ranch, because the cattle don't have anything to eat, and that's the way life is in a small town. 1,600 people.
Last night at the high school auditorium in Choteau, Montana, they had a rally, home of the Bulldogs, by the way... they had a rally for New York City. And not just a rally for New York City, but a rally to raise money... to raise money for New York City. And if that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about the... the spirit of the United States, then I can't help you. I'm sorry.

applause

And I have one more thing to say, and then, thank God, Regis is here, so we have something to make fun of.

If you didn't believe it before, and it's easy to understand how you might have been skeptical on this point, if you didn't believe it before, you can absolutely believe it now... New York City is the greatest city in the world.

lengthy applause

We're going to try and feel our way through this, and we'll just see how it goes... take it a day at a time. We're lucky enough tonight to have two fantastic representatives of this town, Dan Rather and Regis Philbin, and we'll be right back.

to commercial


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I thought some of you who missed it, may want to read what Letterman had to say about the WTC bombing. It was very moving.
1 posted on 09/19/2001 1:34:49 PM PDT by PaulJ
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To: PaulJ
Letterman's remarks about Giuliani were very gracious. David did a good job. His high intelligence was evident. Leno, on the other hand, sounded maudlin and insincere last night in his opening comments. His far lower intelligence was also evident.
2 posted on 09/19/2001 1:41:21 PM PDT by beckett
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To: PaulJ
What a class act, compared to that detestible unamerican late-night show host Bill Maher. It's time to stand up for America, and any who can't, should move to another country where they would be happier.
3 posted on 09/19/2001 1:43:01 PM PDT by holyscroller
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To: PaulJ
Thanks for posting this. I had heard it was good.

The only problem I have with one of his remarks is the one about religious fervor. I wonder if now anyone who is religious is going to be persecuted......just wondering.

4 posted on 09/19/2001 1:43:57 PM PDT by Mrs. P
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To: PaulJ
Thank you for posting this. I missed it live, but I have a feeling that God Willing, we will see it again and again as a representation to our children of the times in which we now are living...
5 posted on 09/19/2001 1:44:05 PM PDT by dandelion
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To: PaulJ
He's so right about Giuliani. If only we New Yorkers could get the term-limits law repealed so that he could stay on.

Of the four Dems fighting to replace him, one's a crook, one's a race panderer, one's a clubhouse hack, and the other's a time-serving professional go-along-to-get-along pol. My dog would make a better mayor.

Rudy, don't go.

6 posted on 09/19/2001 1:44:40 PM PDT by Big Bunyip
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To: PaulJ
Letterman is another American hero. It is times like this that the cream rises to the top and the sewage sinks to the bottom. Thank you Dave!
7 posted on 09/19/2001 1:46:27 PM PDT by Az Joe
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To: PaulJ
Totally. I saw it, and when he was trying not to cry, I broke into tears.
8 posted on 09/19/2001 1:49:01 PM PDT by Hawkeye's Girl
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To: Mrs. P
What he was saying, I believe, was how could anyone do something like this in God's name.
9 posted on 09/19/2001 1:50:32 PM PDT by PaulJ
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To: Mrs. P
The only problem I have with one of his remarks is the one about religious fervor.

You could read it as incredulity that the perpetrators thought they were being religious.

10 posted on 09/19/2001 1:52:57 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: PaulJ
This will be Mr. David Letterman's legacy. God bless him.
11 posted on 09/19/2001 1:54:47 PM PDT by Lucky2
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To: PaulJ
bump
12 posted on 09/19/2001 1:54:59 PM PDT by patent
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To: PaulJ
It was a good show but I wanted more. I suppose it's too early to vent for David Letterman but I really look forward to the "Top 10 list of what New Yorkers are going to do to the terrorists" or some such. I bet the jokes about President Bush get a bit muted. I would also like to see David Letterman vent about Howard Stern and other anti-American statements.
13 posted on 09/19/2001 1:56:10 PM PDT by techcor
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To: PaulJ
A beautiful and heartfelt monologue. I really think he meant it. Expect, I wish he hadn't said that Dan Blather was a true American and one of the best men in New York.
14 posted on 09/19/2001 1:56:52 PM PDT by PatrioticAmerican
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To: PaulJ
Thanks for posting this as I had not seen it. I have always liked Dave and he did a great job here.
15 posted on 09/19/2001 2:01:39 PM PDT by Wyatt's Torch
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To: PatrioticAmerican
Not one single word about the excellent job our Prez has been doing...so sad!
16 posted on 09/19/2001 2:02:16 PM PDT by RoseofTexas
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To: PaulJ
Thanks for posting this
17 posted on 09/19/2001 2:04:01 PM PDT by ChadGore
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To: PaulJ
If you have a fast enough connection, you can view this at:

http://cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/dave_tv/index.shtml

I saw it myself, and even days later on a 3" screen it was very moving. (It's the small "box" with Dave on it, and not the others like the box with Dan Rather for example).

It may require you to upgrade to the latest edition or Real Player 8.0 to view it, and if you choose to do so I suggest carefully reviewing all the visible and hidden default settings they try to trick you into when you download the program.

18 posted on 09/19/2001 2:15:36 PM PDT by research99
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To: beckett
>>Leno, on the other hand, sounded maudlin and insincere last night in his opening comments. His far lower intelligence was also evident.<<

The difference is that Leno relies on writers. Letterman spoke from the heart.

19 posted on 09/19/2001 2:17:50 PM PDT by DC Ripper
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To: RoseofTexas
Someone mentioned on another thread that in NY, the Mayor often overshadows the President.
20 posted on 09/19/2001 2:19:36 PM PDT by Hawkeye's Girl
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To: research99
I believe this is the URL to the non-HTMLized, CBS ad-filled version (according to a post in alt.fan.letterman), although I can't verify since I won't waste my time installing RealPlayer. Copy and paste this URL into the player:

pnm://real.cbsig.net/g2demand/entertainment/mini/lateshow/highlights/20010917.rm

I did see it on CBS, and everyone's sentiments expressed here are correct - it was a truly moving show, one of his best. Better than even his comeback special from his heart surgery. Here's to Letterman, a true patriot, moreso than Jay Leno and Bill Maher could ever dream of being (or, in Maher's case, a true Marxist).

21 posted on 09/19/2001 2:22:56 PM PDT by Dan Nunn
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To: research99
link
22 posted on 09/19/2001 2:31:13 PM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
I did see it. And it WAS an emotional night. He did do good on this one. He really did.

I was disappointed that he Didn't mention President Bush. I wasn't surprized though. He was a Gore man. He usually is ruthless when it comes to President Bush. In fact, It shocked the heck out of me, that he actually spoke so highly of the Mayor!!!

I don't think David Letterman is a hero, that has been defined lately by a lot of others, the Men of flight 93, the Firefighters, Police and Rescue workers, co-workers who gave their lives for others. Plus he would have to change his colors regarding our President. But he did "shine" on this night.

I watched because I needed an "emotional vacation" for a few moments, and Jay Leno wasn't on. (Not that he also isn't a bleeding liberal). But I do watch those guys at night. I have almost been sick to my stomach when they have attacked in such a different way, guised as jokes, but meant to harm, our President, or members of the Senate or Congress who are Republicans. They act as though they pick on all equally, but that isn't true.

But for one night, David did shine. I thought it was an emotional tribute. And you know what?? I even cried when Dan Blather cried. Because the words of the song he spoke of, will truly never hold the same meaning. And that is sad for America.

So, Well done David. Now.. lets see if you can go a little further, and back our Commander in Chief!!

23 posted on 09/19/2001 2:31:40 PM PDT by Vets_Husband_and_Wife
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To: PaulJ
Letterman was sticking it to President Bush. His over-the-top comments on Rudy, emphasizing his 'courage' (for what? going to the site after the bombing?) and his silence on Bush were meant to deliver the message: Bush panicked (i.e., he followed the SS advice who knew AF One was a target).

When Regis started to say "Bush is going to handle this right... " Slimeball Letterman interrupted him with this: "Tell us how you met Joey Bishop". He did not want Regis to compliment our President and he didn't have the guts to say what he thought.

Letterman has made it clear he despises our President and those of you who were impressed with his monologue need to listen more carefully.

At least Rather said he would do whatever the President wanted.

24 posted on 09/19/2001 2:33:40 PM PDT by aculeus
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To: Dan Nunn
link
25 posted on 09/19/2001 2:34:28 PM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: PaulJ
Thanks for posting this. When you said "David Letterman", I was expecting some sick jokes, but this was a good read. Thanks!
26 posted on 09/19/2001 2:37:54 PM PDT by Dale 1
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To: Mrs. P
The only problem I have with one of his remarks is the one about religious fervor. I wonder if now anyone who is religious is going to be persecuted......just wondering.

I honestly don't think that's how his remark was intended. He was speaking about those would would commit mass murder because of a supposed explanation of religious fervor.

I guarantee you that people are not going to be persecuted "just because they are religious". So-called "religious" mass murderers, on the other hand.....

27 posted on 09/19/2001 2:39:35 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: aculeus
As a regular watcher of his, no. He made fun of Clinton, and he made fun of Bush. I liked "The President's Vocabulary Word of the Day", even though I voted for Bush. We all have our faults, and at times, Bush isn't as articulate as he could be. All in good fun :)

And as I have said before, there's a reason why a former staffer of his told the NY Times he was a "closet Republican".

28 posted on 09/19/2001 2:41:26 PM PDT by Hawkeye's Girl
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To: holyscroller
What a class act,

Yeah it figured his hosting of the Academy Awards bombed. He is one of the entertainment industry with a little of those "hometown values" and knows when it's time to say what needs to be said.

I personally LOVED his hosting of the Awards. But I can see why Hollywood didn't. They take themselves too seriously.

29 posted on 09/19/2001 2:41:42 PM PDT by Terriergal
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To: PaulJ
I couldn't help but choke.

And I believe, because I've done a little of this myself, pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing. ....I don't know if its as good as the real thing, but sometimes the best I could do was pretend.

Great job Dave, and he is right....Mayor Giuliani is a leader and an example for all of us to look up to.

[[Senator Giuliani anyone??]]

Ashland, Missouri

30 posted on 09/19/2001 2:41:43 PM PDT by rface
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To: Big Bunyip
I understand you want Rudy to continue on as mayor, but wouldn't you rather have him as one of your senators? When is "chuckie the schmuck" up for re-election?
31 posted on 09/19/2001 2:46:46 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Big Bunyip
re #6--I'd heard people were starting a write-in campaign to keep him as mayor. As someone said, it's the job he was born to do. NY needs him and he needs NY.
32 posted on 09/19/2001 2:50:23 PM PDT by proud American in Canada
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To: Big Bunyip
re #6--I'd heard people were starting a write-in campaign to keep him as mayor. As someone said, it's the job he was born to do. NY needs him and he needs NY.
33 posted on 09/19/2001 2:50:29 PM PDT by proud American in Canada
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To: Big Bunyip
Did city voters approve the term limits law? I'm just curious.
34 posted on 09/19/2001 2:53:13 PM PDT by mdwakeup
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To: rface
Senator Giuliani anyone??

No. Mayors and Governors lead. Senators are legislative policy and special interest wonks.

The good mayor is a leader.

Can you say President Giuliani in 2008??

35 posted on 09/19/2001 2:53:44 PM PDT by brewcrew
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To: aculeus
Shame on you! Rudy went to ground zero before the towers collapsed. He had run for his life just like everyone else when they started to fall.
36 posted on 09/19/2001 2:55:47 PM PDT by mdwakeup
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: brewcrew
I could say it in 2004.
38 posted on 09/19/2001 2:57:21 PM PDT by mdwakeup
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To: PaulJ
It would have been nice if Letterman had at least mentioned President Bush. If he couldn't even utter his name that night, then he must really dispise him.

The mayor has done a remarkable job but so has President Bush.

39 posted on 09/19/2001 2:59:11 PM PDT by BlueAngel
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To: PaulJ
Who thinks that Dan Rather's crying episode was entirely genuine?
40 posted on 09/19/2001 3:00:00 PM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: RoseofTexas
"Not one single word about the excellent job our Prez has been doing...so sad!"

My thoughts EXACTLY. I am impressed with what he did say, but disappointed in what he didn't say. President Bush is doing an excellent job. Too bad Letterman couldn't have given him a mention. I would like to think it was just an oversight, because what he did say showed a lot of class.

41 posted on 09/19/2001 3:01:43 PM PDT by Mama_Bear
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To: Ditter
When is "chuckie the schmuck" up for re-election?

Either 2002 or 2004, however, if Rudy ran against Chuckie, that would make the Hildebeeste the Senior Senator from NY. I'd like to see Rudy continue on as mayor through the crisis, then head up a Justice Department investigation of the terrorist attack, then come back in 2006 and clobber the pantsuited witch.

42 posted on 09/19/2001 3:03:48 PM PDT by Inspectorette
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To: PaulJ

And I have "friends" who wonder why I love this guy...

43 posted on 09/19/2001 3:06:46 PM PDT by Fintan
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To: PaulJ
Thanks. I missed the first 45 minutes of the show.
44 posted on 09/19/2001 3:10:03 PM PDT by Slyfox
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To: techcor
I would also like to see David Letterman vent about Howard Stern and other anti-American statements.

The obvious one would have to be Bill Maher. If Barbara Olsen had been going to be on Letterman instead of PI, she'd probably be alive today.

45 posted on 09/19/2001 3:13:31 PM PDT by Slyfox
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To: holyscroller
"What a class act, compared to that detestible unamerican late-night show host Bill Maher. It's time to stand up for America, and any who can't, should move to another country where they would be happier."

We missed most of Leno ... caught Crosby, Stills and Nash though ... was unimpessed ... old hippies ...

Late Night with Conan O'Brien followed Leno and his monologue was as sincere as I think he could be. He said (among many other things) that he had made a career of making an ass of himself and that this was the toughest thing he's ever had to do. They (the show cast, workers et al got together and decided that, though they weren't sure if this was the right thing to do, they all felt they had to work, they had to get back to work ... "I don't know how this is going to turn out, but we're going to try ... we're going to try ... and maybe tomorrow we'll try, and maybe the next day and the next ... "

I was touched by Conan's sincerity

46 posted on 09/19/2001 3:16:42 PM PDT by knarf
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To: overseas_patriot
Re-Elect Bush 2004

47 posted on 09/19/2001 3:18:45 PM PDT by Hillary's Lovely Legs
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To: PaulJ
He had me too till he said Dan Blather was a "fantastic representive"...........Awesome words otherwise.

Stay Safe

48 posted on 09/19/2001 3:20:38 PM PDT by Squantos
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To: Slyfox
Yeah, definitely Maher. Ah, I get a smile just imagining Letterman ripping into those two. He, David Letterman, really could take those two down. Remember Saturday Night Live (and a few others) banned Andy Kaufman. His career was toast after that.
49 posted on 09/19/2001 3:29:11 PM PDT by techcor
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To: mdwakeup
Shame on you! Rudy went to ground zero before the towers collapsed. He had run for his life just like everyone else when they started to fall.

And some of the people he had just been speaking to moments earlier died under the collapse.

It could easily have been Giuliani too.

50 posted on 09/19/2001 4:00:26 PM PDT by Dan Day
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