Last October, as part of Vulture and UCB Comedy’s Pop Culture Memory Lane series, all-star viner and Venture Brothers star James Urbaniak shared a story about how he once helped David Letterman tell one of his monologue jokes as a teenager back in Late Night’s early years. This is how Urbaniak told it:
In part because today is the 20th anniversary of the 1,819th and final episode of the incredibly influential Late Night with David Letterman, and partly because we just found it in the catacombs of the internet over the weekend, here is video of 19-year-old “Jim” Urbaniak hijacking Letterman’s monologue on the night of February 23, 1983, nailing the joke that the host failed to tell correctly two shows in a row, and receiving a long round of applause and cheers for the great effort. Included is the tail end of the iconic introduction that Urbaniak described above.
David should have let the future star handle the rest of the monologue; his next joke about then Yankees manager Billy Martin only received a bunch of groans. Guests Andy Kaufman and wrestler Freddie Baslie; Alba Ballard and her costumed birds; and Marv Albert and his sports bloopers pacified and entertained a young Dr. Venture and the rest of the studio audience for the next hour. Watching the actual footage justifies the feelings last fall of pure, unadulterated jealousy.