David Letterman Talks Trump, Pence and the Surfing Goat on Return to 'Late Night'

Former Late Night host David Letterman returned to the NBC program to catch up with current host Seth Meyers on Wednesday night, in a free-wheeling appearance that spanned topics from Letterman's beard to Lyme Disease to the fate of the surfing goat that Meyers often discussed when he was formerly a guest of Letterman's show.

Letterman hosted the show from 1982-1993 before going on to helm CBS' The Late Show for 22 years until 2015. He now hosts the Netflix talk show series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, which has welcomed guests including Barack Obama, Tina Fey and Malala Yousafzai. 

Upon his arrival on the NBC stage, Letterman asked about the birth of Seth Meyer's second son, who Meyers related was born in the lobby of his apartment building in a viral segment in April. Letterman joked that someone once told him that no one wants to hear anyone talk about their kids on TV: "Well, I don't have a show, so just let me come out and ruin yours."

Letterman then launched into a story about the birth of his son, now 14 years old. After being in the hospital all day as his wife was in labor, he and a hospital employee ordered Chinese food and ate it in the break room "close enough so I could hear her scream," Letterman said. "To this day that pisses her off," Letterman said, to which he claimed he says, "'Well, Regina, these guys delivered. You weren't, you know what I'm saying?'"

Meyers then asked about Letterman's beard, which he grew after he left The Late Show in 2015. Letterman said that he gets different reactions to it, and told a story about being in the Catskills and a shop owner checking each of his $20 bills with a marker to make sure they were real. "I asked him, 'Do I look like the kind of guy who would start passing the counterfeit [bills]?' And then I realize, 'Oh, yeah, I do,'" Letterman said.

When Meyers asked whether Letterman would be covering Trump if he still had a daily show, Letterman responded, "I tell you, after watching the opening of your show, there would be no point in doing it, because you have it covered." He added that he can't do a Trump impression, and he showed the audience his Jimmy Stewart impression instead.

Letterman did, however, crack one joke about the vice president: "This is what troubles me about Mike Pence. He's from Indiana. He looks like the guy at a funeral home who would try to sell you the most expensive casket."

Also during his appearance, Meyers updated Letterman on the status of his father-in-law's goat, which the father-in-law claimed he had taught to surf and Meyers would discuss every time he was a guest on Letterman's show. Meyers imparted the sad news that the goat had died, and when Letterman looked sad, Meyers showed him the goat's obituary, which mentioned that he had received national fame after being featured on Letterman's show. "That's something for you — you made a goat's obituary!" Meyers told the former Late Night host.

When Letterman asked if Meyers had actually seen the goat surf, Meyers demurred that he had seen the goat on a surfboard, which was under "more ground than water." After Letterman made a disapproving noise, Meyers snapped back: "Hey, the goat died. Have some respect for the deceased."

Not long after, Letterman announced he was going to do a PSA for Lyme Disease and gave Meyers a tick he claimed he had pulled off his back a few days earlier and sealed in a Ziploc bag. When Meyers asked him if he was going to have it tested, Letterman responded, "He's yours. You have him tested. You have the show." Meyers joked that he would hand the tick down to the host after him.

Letterman got serious toward the end of his appearance, saying, "Your show is nothing like my show. My show was lumpy and viscous. And your show is crisp and smart and contemporary." He said that his one complaint was that he had hoped the show would be renamed The Tomorrow Show, and had told Meyers about this desire when passing the torch. 

"I thought about it, but it meant a lot to me to be the host of Late Night," Meyers said.

The finale of Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction airs March 31.