After about 02:33 in the November 8, 2017 video Bill Murray and Jimmy Kimmel on David Letterman's Specialness Murray says:

(Bill:)... You know that that was the fun part of it and he, and in the early days it was fun to... you really had to be on, you really had to be rolling and you had to come in with one in the chamber, you couldn't come in cold and because you've seen him just, like I was talking about last night, that he would just cut people—kill people—if they were bad or vain which was where the fatal flaw, he would just say "Jimmy Kimmel, ladies and gentlemen, thanks for coming." And that was it. It went to the commercial and like that this person just got one minute 15 seconds and they're gone, he just kicks 'em.

(Jimmy:) I felt a weird... when I watched the show, I'd decide which celebrities I thought were we're good and which were bad based on Dave's reaction to them, and know when I was on the show the first time I felt I had to apply that standard, it's me, you know, and and if he didn't like me then I was I was forced to be in that group with Shirley MacLaine or whoever the hell was in that group, and so it was really for me a test—it could have potentially ruined my whole life.

Question: Which guests did David Letterman get rid of the quickest? Was Shirley MacLaine really one of them?

  • 3
    No clue why this has 3 close votes on it. This is not an ID question, this is a trivia-based question which is accepted on this site. Feb 10, 2023 at 13:53
  • the thing is talk show hosts have a certain amount of air time they have to fill with their interviews, so it's not really an option for them to cut someone off early
    – Shiz Z.
    Feb 10, 2023 at 21:14
  • 1
    @ShizZ. Hmm... I can't imagine that a well-oiled machine like the Letterman show didn't always have some contingency plan if things don't go smoothly with a guest (they show up drunk, come down with food poisoning, etc.) I can't imagine he'd ever allow him to be put in a position where he'd absolutely have to sit with a guest for a fixed amount of time no matter what happened.
    – uhoh
    Feb 10, 2023 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


No. Shirley MacLaine was not one of the guests that he got rid of the quickest; however, it was a famously tense and awkward interview

David Letterman recalls the 1988 interview:

The one that really upset me recently was Shirley MacLaine. Shirley was too big a star to do a pre-interview. We had no idea what she wanted to talk about. So the talent staff put together a list of four or five questions based on research material. Then she comes on the program and she brings with her an attitude, which she mentioned early on: "I guess Cher was right." ((Cher once called Letterman an unprintable name on the air.)) I thought that was untoward, needless. And then, when I would ask her the questions, about her past lives or about her book or about her film -- projects that she had devoted no small measure of time and effort to -- she just couldn't be bothered. So I thought to myself: Why are you on this show, lady? There was not a gun at this woman's head. I have less and less patience for that kind of behavior.

Letterman is well-known for antagonizing his guests. He has several infamous bizarre and tense interviews, just to name a few

  • Justin Bieber
  • Farrah Fawcett
  • Cher
  • Bill O'Reilly
  • Madonna
  • Joaquin Phoenix
  • Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler

The Shirley MaClaine interview lasted over 6 minutes according to a youtube clip. Bill Murray more than likely named Shirley MaClaine because of the well-known feud between her and Letterman.

As a life-long Letterman fan, I don't recall nor could I find any sources that Letterman would "cut" or "kill" people early. That could likely be the case and that those interviews never made it to the air.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .