Comedian Recalls Letterman’s Start In L.A. As He Celebrates 20 Years Of The Late Show

LOS ANGELES ( —  For the past 20 years, David Letterman has been the King of Late Night here on CBS.

And while Letterman, an Indiana native, is based on the East Coast, CBS2’s Suzanne Marques reports the comedian has a deep-rooted history in Southern California.

Stand-up comedian Tom Dreesen recalls how Letterman spent his early days as a stand-up comedian at The Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip.

“David Letterman would drive every night to The Comedy Store with an old beat up pick-up truck. He’d just come in from Indianapolis, where he was a weatherman,” Dreesen said.

“He wanted to be a writer more than a stand-up comedian but he would get up at The Comedy Store to practice his material and he was incredibly clever.”

Letterman skyrocketed to fame quickly, taking that beat up red truck with him.

When he appeared on Johnny Carson in 1986, Carson played a practical joke on him, stealing Letterman’s truck and then returning it on his show.

Letterman recently surpassed the legendary comic, his late friend and mentor, for having the longest late-night hosting career in the U.S.

Dreesen, who has appeared on the Late Show for decades, says the men shared a deep respect for their craft.

“I’ve never known another late night talk show host aside from Johnny Carson who was so respectful of the stand-up comedian,” he said.

The old friends will be reunited very soon.

Dreesen is scheduled to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman Friday, September 13.

In the meantime, Bill Murray, Letterman’s first television guest, is pulling out all the stops for a special show this evening, also featuring a guest appearance from Gladys Knight.

You can catch the Late Show 20th anniversary tonight at 11:30 p.m. following CBS2 News.


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