Letterman Turns Online Death Threat Into Laughs

Robert Siegel and Melissa Block tell us about David Letterman's response to an online death threat.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Last week, "Late Show" host David Letterman received a death threat. It came from an online forum that's said to be popular with radical extremists. The FBI is taking the matter very seriously. Letterman, on the other hand, is doing what Letterman does.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")

DAVID LETTERMAN: You people are more to me - honestly - more than an audience tonight.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN: Really.

PAUL SCHAEFER ("Late Show" Bandleader ) More than an audience.

LETTERMAN: You're...

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

LETTERMAN: ...you're more like a human shield.

SCHAEFER: Oh.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SIEGEL: That's from David Letterman's opening monologue last night. Letterman also took the opportunity to add al-Qaida to the list of people who he says hate him, a very long list that an announcer cheerily rattled off.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Al-Qaida, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Jay Leno, NBC, CBS, the "Late Show" staff, the "Late Show" crew, the "Late Show" studio audience, the "Late Show" home audience, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Dave's neighbors, Dave's mailman, Dave's clergyman, Canadians, the Swiss, the Chinese, Tony Danza, children, men...

SIEGEL: And in true "Late Show" fashion, Letterman also used the threat as grist for his latest top 10 list: the top 10 thoughts that went through his head after hearing about the threat.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")

LETTERMAN: Number three, some people get Emmy nominations; some people get death threats. Number two, this seems like Leno's handiwork. And the number one thought that went through my mind after hearing about the threat: Oh, my god, they canceled "The George Lopez Show."

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SIEGEL: David Letterman, turning his predicament into a punch line.

(SOUNDBITE OF "LATE SHOW" BAND)

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