Ever since the 'Uma-Oprah' comment at the Acdemy Awards ten years or so ago, they've been intertwined in TV history.
For the last few years, she's famously refused to come on his show, no matter how he's begged. It's become a running joke, and among the most talked about celebrity feuds in memory.
The feud is over. Oprah, as I write this, is talking to David Letterman!!!
I'm wondering: is anyone watching Leno?
The irony is that at one point in time, when Letterman came to Chicago, Winfrey went to L.A. and guested on Leno. Now, Winfrey's on Letterman, and Leno's got...Ebert & Roeper. Well, they are from Chicago, even if Roeper is a gadfly and a tool.
We now go live to the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York:
Dave opens with an uncharacteristically short, Oprah-centric monologue. As the crowd cheers his entrance, he attempts to quiet the audience: "Shh. You'll scare Oprah."
The Top 10 list is centered around tonights famous guest: 10 Messages on Oprah's answering machine:
- Oprah, This is Nick. Have you seen Jessica?
- He thinks you're coming. This is going to be the best Punk'd yet!
- Regis here. Letterman's all hands during the commercial breaks.
- Julia Roberts here. Letterman's all hands during the commercial breaks.
- This is Dubya. If you need a pardon...
- Paul Shaeffer here. Letterman's had a lot of work done since you've last seen him.
- Martha Stewart here. I left a pair of box cutters in the guest chair if you need them.
A couple more Oprah-related (self-deprecating) jokes, and out she comes, to huge applause.
Oprah just gave Dave a double-autographed photo of her and Uma Thurman. According to Oprah, the Uma-Oprah reference on the Academy Awards a few years ago wasn't "a problem" to her: "I thought it was funny." Dave's reply? "Not for me."
Now she's talking about old Marcus Welby episodes about amensia, in reference to a time when she broke her glasses and went to the hospital. Oprah feigned amnesia, claiming she was hit on the head and couldn't remember what happened. Mom, of course, wasn't fooled. With usual motherly aplomb, she asked the doctor to leave, then began the interrogation. Oprah caved.
And now, a word from our sponsors....
Dave's now asking Oprah about the Tom Cruise Incident. Oprah seemed a little surprised, calling Tom an interesting guy. Dave followed up by asking if she was sick of anyone comeing on her show, to which she said "I pretty much get to do what I want". (Yep, she does.)
Dave follows this by asking Oprah about her start - "you knew what you wanted...it's gotten to be more than just a television show; it's a goal, a pursuit, a mission..."
This leads to Oprah's rehashing the story of Christmas when she was 12, when her mother told her "Santa's not coming". Oprah wondered, "you have to pay Santa?" "Yes," replied her mother, "and I don't have money, so he's not coming." The day was saved by three nuns, who came over, bearing gifts. This incident inspired her to give back, so she's going to Africa to do the same for poor children there after she leaves New York.
Another sponsor break
(Note: on Eric & Kathy [mornings, WTMX 101.9FM] the producer of Dave's show indicated that Oprah would get the bulk of the time on the show. She's been on for about 20 minutes so far.)
The topic, after the first break? How a station in Baltimore wanted to change her name to 'Susie'. Dave, fawning and trying hard to suck up to Oprah, compliments her on the name Oprah, saying it's "beautiful, and she shouldn't have changed it."
They move on to Oprah's work in Africa. "I think of my take on Africa...is it in dire shape?" Dave asks. "I think there are enough people on the planet who could change Africa...but we sit back and have another cappucino," replies Oprah. Oprah, taken aback, says "I can't believe you're being this serious. Do you want to really know?" Dave says yes, and Oprah outlines her plan for a girls academy in Africa. She's heading there to interview principles and build the school - she believes 'education is freedom' (to audience applause). After another comment about how serious Dave is being, it's time for a commercial break. We're up to 25 minutes now. Bonnie Raitt won't get much time at this rate.
Commercial, in which Craig Ferguson quips while sitting next to Dennis Quaid, "Tonight on the Late Late Show, Oprah Winfrey."
After the break, Dave thanked Oprah for coming on, and said "I guess we'll pencil you in for another 16 years." "No, it was time, I was across the street, and we were practically neighbors."
With that, Dave offered to escort her to the theatre, which she accepted. And thus, the most anticpated meeting on TV in the last ten years came to an end.
Poor Bonnie Raitt. She barely gets enough time to do one song as her reward for forever being half of an answer to a trivia question (the other half being Tony Danza. The question? Name the other guests when Oprah Winfrey settled her long-standing feud with David Letterman.
Oddly enough, the Oprah love-fest continues on the other side of the country, as Craig Ferguson's entire opening monologue is also dedicated to Oprah. She may be on ABC, but today CBS loves Oprah.
photo by Dima Gavrysh for AP. Used without direct permission, but with credit.