Bill Murray and Jimmy Kimmel saluted David Letterman‘s irreverent comic spirit in a new video honoring the former Late Show host ahead of PBS’ November 20th broadcast of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize ceremony.
Murray and Kimmel, longtime Letterman pals, looked back at the retired late-night king’s unique hosting style and bizarre scripted bits. “I think the quintessential David Letterman bit was the giant doorknob,” Kimmel said, recalling a classic early Eighties segment. “It was a giant doorknob, and they brought it out and he said nothing more than, ‘It’s just plain big.’ They talk about risky comedy, and none of it’s really that risky, but to bring a doorknob out in front of an audience and expect them to laugh in the right spot, that’s as risky as I guess it gets.”
Murray, meanwhile, singled out Letterman’s recurring remote pieces with Hello Deli owner Rupert Jee. “To put your faith in a person that that person is going to be consistently amusing in an unpredictable way – that was fun,” the actor enthused.
Kimmel, the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, noted it’s almost impossible to absorb Letterman’s late-night lessons due to his inimitable style. “There’s only so much you can learn from Dave because only Dave can do what Dave does,” he said. “But I think one important thing is when you have someone on the show who is funny, don’t try to force your jokes in. Just let that person be funny. And if that person is doing well, let them do as well as they possibly can. If there is a secret to at least the guest part of hosting a talk show, that’s it.”
Murray and Kimmel honored Letterman – alongside Eddie Vedder, former Late Show bandleader Paul Shaffer and more – last month at the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor ceremony. “No one from his generation influenced American comedy more,” Kimmel said of the influential host.