When David Letterman Did His Show in Boston and Had Local Firefighters Present the Top Ten List
In the '90s, late night TV was different. The hosts weren’t all “friends,” and producers didn’t call each other for advice. It was an honest-to-God, boots-on-the-ground rivalry between friends-turned-rivals David Letterman and Andover native Jay Leno.
With Leno firmly ahead in November of 1996, Letterman took his show on the road to Leno's old stomping grounds in Boston. In front of an audience comprised mainly of students at Boston University, Letterman welcomed Dana Carvey and Massachusetts native Steven Wright.
Letterman also set off on a mission to turn a random BU student into the “Big Man on Campus.”
He landed on a student named Michael Hirsch from New York – whose improvised nickname “Hirschy” led to his candy-themed moniker, “The Bar.” From there, the Late Show host got to work revamping The Bar’s wardrobe, setting him up on a date with a random girl, and having bandleader Paul Shaffer compose a custom “Bar” theme song.
You can check out the clip below, which is a fun trip down memory lane to Boston circa 1996.
Also memorable was when Letterman welcomed 10 Boston firefighters to present the evening’s Top Ten List: “Top Ten Things That Sound Cool with a Boston Accent.”
Among them: the immortal line “My trousers are full of chowder."
Leno hosted an episode of The Tonight Show in Boston after the Cheers finale in 1993. Curiously, Brookline native Conan O’Brien (who will begin a new show after the Writers Guild of America strike concludes) never made it to Boston with any of his talk shows.
As for the strike, you can read more about it here as explained by Family Guy writer and New Hampshire native, Chris Sheridan.