Last night’s finale of The Late Show with David Letterman was a look-back on the 33 years of Letterman’s groundbreaking hosting career. Through the three decades on-air (at NBC, then CBS), Letterman interviewed his share of movie stars, rock stars, and exotic animal handlers, but – as he was wont to do – Letterman would occasionally bring on someone a little… different. In between the well-known celebs stopping by to plug their latest blockbuster, Letterman actually invited an independent filmmaker to come on the show – more than once! The results were disastrous and amazing.
Harmony Korine on The Late Show – 1995
DAVID LETTERMAN first interviewed HARMONY KORINE back in 1995 when Korine’s screenwriting debut Kids had just been released. To this day, it’s pretty rare for a screenwriter to make the talk show circuit (in all likelihood, Korine was the last to do so until Diablo Cody came around), and to say Korine and Letterman’s first go-around was compelling television would be an understatement. But Korine’s flightiness and Letterman’s crotchety making-fun-of-you-in-front-of-your-face shtick made for trainwreck TV at its very best.
Harmony Korine Returns – 1997
Korine came back to the show to promote his directorial debut Gummo, and to discuss a book he wanted to write called A Crack Up at the Race Riots, about a race war between blacks (led by MC Hammer) and whites (led by Vanilla Ice). Letterman’s tolerance for the young auteur was visibly waning.
Harmony Korine’s Final Appearance – 1998
Korine did write that bizarre novel, and came back to his old friend Dave to talk about it – looking like he just rolled out of bed. And Letterman couldn’t even hide his disdain any longer. It’s television magic.
Why Korine Never Came Back – 2013
When James Franco came on the show to plug Korine’s Spring Breakers, the truth came out about why the writer/director was never invited back to the show. Apparently assaulting and/or robbing Meryl Streep backstage is frowned upon over at The Late Show. After all, Streep never had to put up with that shit on Kimmel.
Farewell, Mr. Letterman. Happy retirement. I can only hope that you and Korine can make amends and spend your twilight years together, living happily ever after making weird-ass movies and openly mocking each other.
If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.