Crispin Glover on Letterman

Crispin “Hellion” Glover will be on Late Show with David Letterman tonight for the first third time since his disastrous appearance in July 1987, when he took the stage in a wig and big platform shoes, offered up a brief and bizarre interview, and delivered a high kick inches from Letterman’s face. The producers cut to commercial and he hasn’t been seen on the show since. Here’s a collage of eight screen captures from that episode. (If you have a video clip, send it to me!)

So it should be an interesting show tonight. Unfortunately, Dave’s out sick; maybe Crispin will try to jump-kick guest host Will Ferrell instead. (Or maybe he’ll sing “Ben.”)

I’ve included a full transcript below of the 1987 appearance below.

July 16, 2003: Consumption Junction has the video clip of the original Letterman appearance (careful at work).


Source: Excerpted from David Schweingruber’s Usenet post. The images came from David’s Crispin fansite, which is no longer online. Thanks to Christian for the original tip.

A transcript doesn’t do it full justice since much of comedy came from Glover’s bearing. He came onto the set facing backstage and his arms spread as though he were arguing with someone. He was wearing striped pants (vertical stripes of various widths: off-white, earth tones, light blue), black platform shoes with huge high heels and a patterned blue-and-white short-sleeved button-down shirt. He has long, very messy hair which wasn’t cut straight. It appeared to be a wig.

He appeared very nervous and ill at ease. He had a lot of trouble getting his words out. Because of the way he spoke and acted, the audience laughed off and on throughout the interview. Leading up to the kick, Glover places the case (which was on his lap) on the floor, leans forward and flexes his right arm with his left hand on the biceps. He leans toward Dave, offering to arm wrestle. He stands and takes two steps backward. On the first he bangs his right foot against the case; on the second he steps off the platform and stumbles. He recovers and kicks his right foot almost straight out and toward Dave’s head.

I don’t think the kick came close to hitting Dave. During the kick Glover’s left foot stayed near the spot it was when he stepped off the platform. As he brought his right leg down after the kick, his left knee bumped into the chair furthest from Dave, who had his hand on the desk but was sitting behind it (not leaning up over it). I’m guessing the kick was maybe two or three feet from Dave’s head.

Dave kept calm through the whole thing and didn’t flinch during the kick. He played the straight man throughout the segment, which was probably the best comedic strategy.

Objects were visible in the case, but I have no idea what they were. (Note: They were wax replicas of diseased eyeballs.)

Here is the transcript of the Glover segment.

David Letterman: My next guest is a very talented young man, probably best remembered as Michael J. Fox’s father in a film called “Back to the Future.” He is now starring in a motion picture called “River’s Edge.” Folks, please welcome Crispin Glover. (Glover walks out.)

DL: Hi, how are you?

Crispin Glover: Good.

DL: Nice to see you.

CG: Nice to see you too.

DL: How are you doing?

CG: Good, I’m really good.

DL: Things going alright this summer?

CG: I’m having a very good summer.

DL: Where do you live now? You live in Los Angeles?

CG: Yes, that’s right. In Los Angeles. I just bought a nice condominium.

DL: Condominium. Where’s it located?

CG: It’s located just over the hill in the valley and I’m really happy about it.

DL: For a time you lived in Hollywood? You lived on Hollywood Boulevard?

CG: In Hollywood Boulevard?

DL: On Hollywood Boulevard?

CG: No.

DL: Had an apartment overlooking Hollywood Boulevard? A big high building you lived in. A big tower on Hollywood Boulevard?

CG: No, no.

DL: Alright. Then we’ll just drop that and go on to something else, alright? Do you do a lot of television shows?

CG: Oh, yes, now because I’ve been in movies that are big and I’m a movie star so I’ve been on talk shows, on the Johnny Carson Show and now I’m here and I’ve been all across the United States and I feel really good about it.

Women from Audience: Nice shoes! (Glover looks up at them.)

DL: Do you enjoy the experience?

CG: Yes, I feel very good about them. (A close-up of Glover’s left shoe creates laughter. He pauses and looks confused.)

DL: I notice you have something there in the case. (Points to black case which is on other chair.)

CG: I knew that this was going to happen and can I tell you because the press they can do things, they can twist things around. You’re talking… (takes wad of clippings out of pocket) Look, the press says things about you in the paper and this is a paper, the LA Weekly in Los Angeles, and they said, they said about me, “Lawdy Daw.” It was at a—I went to a club. And they said, it was at a meeting, and it said, “Crispin Glover, who was in a (word removed by A&E) frenzy, though his bark is actually worse than his dot dot dot, you get the point.” And then…

DL: Paul, anything you’d like to add here?

PS: (Mouths word “no.”)

CG: And then another one, they said, they said, they said, they said Crispin Glover…

DL: Paul, is this the first time you’ve seen another guy drown? Is this the first time you’ve watched a guy die?

PS: Are you talking about you or him?

DL: No, me.

PS: It’s quite entertaining though.

CG: They said, “Crispin Glover was pinstriped and greased up for the occasion impressing the girl thangs who were trying to get next to him. Guess some people are turned on by brill cream.”

DL: Yeah, well, I don’t know.

CG: And then they–I don’t have…

DL: You seem to be distraught. You seem to be distraught.

CG: People seem to make me seem a lot weird. And I’m just–I’m strong, you know. (flexes arm) I’m strong. I can arm wrestle. Do you want to arm wrestle?

DL: No.

CG: (stands up) I’ve been taking… These aren’t mine… I can kick. (Kicks at Dave’s head.)

DL: Okay, okay. I’m going to check on the top ten. (referring to fact that top ten list graphics haven’t been ready throughout show) (Glover pulls on Dave’s jacket to keep him from going but Dave walks away from desk.) I’ll be back. (Glover sits back in chair. Cut to commercial.)

After the commercial, Dave had this to say:

DL: Okay, welcome back to the show. We’re running a little short on time tonight. I would have loved to have chatted a little more with Crispin Glover. I understand he had a cab to catch. Traffic this time of night here in mid-town is pretty brutal so we wanted to ensure every possibility he would get wherever he was going on time. Did you enjoy that, Paul?

PS: It was an interesting segment.

DL: I think that’s the first time since we’ve been doing the show that a guest actually tried to kick me.

PS: Well, I think it was a conceptual piece.

DL: He came very close to denting my head with those giant shoes. So I thought, I don’t need that. I’m 40. I went to college. I’ve had a number of— That is not how I want my life ended, some goofball, some dork from wherever— (moans and boos from crowds) Oh, stop it, stop it. Do you want to have dinner with the guy? (applause)

The next show (and here I am going from memory) opened with a replay of the final portion of the interview. Letterman wakes up on a couch and Paul asks him what’s wrong. Dave says he just had a nightmare in which Crispin Glover tried to kick him. Paul says it wasn’t a dream. It really happened. Dave: “What a jerk.”

59 thoughts on “Crispin Glover on Letterman

  1. Man, I remember watching that at the time and thinking, early on in the segment, this is not going well.

    Also, an appearance tonight by the much-missed Will Ferrell!

  2. I distinctly remember Crispin appearing on the show sometime after that. During the interview segment, he was in his right mind, they laughed about his earlier appearance, a little small talk, promo of whatever he was doing at the time, yadda yadda and everybody lived happily ever after.

    You might want to do some follow-up research on that…

  3. Hey, you’re right. He’s been on three times since his July 28, 1987 appearance. August 21, 1987 to explain his bizarre behavior the month before, March 28, 1990 to show a clip from the Clowny Clowny Clown music video, and May 13, 1992 to promote Ed and Rubin. Thanks for the fact check.

  4. I saw that during my late-high-school/early-college addiction to Dave…my first exposure to the weirdness of Crispin. (If you can find his CD, it’s like the audio equivalent of that Letterman appearance.)

    As I recall, when Glover returned to the Letterman show, he tried to claim that wasn’t him during that first appearance, but an actor he hired. Uh huh.

  5. I would be interested in knowing just how much hell they gave him on the shows since the initial interview. Did Will Ferrell tease him or just ask about Willard?

  6. Will Ferrell brought it up briefly. In response, Crispin said that it looked like he came close to kicking Letterman in the head, but implied that he didn’t. Ferrell said he’d kick Crispin’s ass if he acted up again.

    I’m sure Letterman hassled him during their second interview.

  7. I just saw the video for “Ben”, it’s funny as hell! Crispin Glover can be as creepy as he wants to be; he is sooooo HOT!

  8. Just a tiny correction … the movie title that Crispin later came back to promote was Rubin & Ed, not Ed & Rubin. Crispin’s character, Rubin, looks exactly how Crispin looked on the first Letterman appearance in 1987 — wig, glasses, platform shoes, striped pants. It’s a good, weird movie, if you can find it.

  9. If you do a search for trent harris the guy who made Rubin and Ed you can email him and order it off his website. He charges $25 for the VHS tape, where yahoo and other sites charge around $70.

    Also you can get t-shirts and prints from the movie.

  10. damn, i wish i had seen it. unfortunately, i was only one year old around this time. damn, i feel like a baby. i would have KILLED to see that!!!!!! yeah, crispin’s a weird, rad, sexy bitch.

  11. I found this article by searching for Crispin on a search engine. I was ignorant of the weirdness of him. I always thought he was kind of cool but I never heard about the David Letterman episode, plus I was born in ’89 so it was kind of hard for me to see it. I’d like to though.

  12. in an interview he said that he was trying out a new character and just wanted to see the reactions he would get. have you ever seen “ruben and ed”? his character in that is exactly how he acted during that letterman thing. thanks for the clip, fuknut, i enjoyed seeing it again.

  13. I thought it was great what Crispin did on Dave Letterman. I think some people like to put Dave on the spot, he can be a real jerk sometmies. I don’t see anything different from something Tom Green would have done.

  14. Crispin Glover is awesome. I don’t think anyone is as crazy as he is, not even tom green. But it is good to put Dave in his place. Also, everyone needs to go out today and buy Willard. I don’t think a lot of people saw it in theatres and not to many people could understand its brilliance. Well thats all i’ve got. Peace out.

  15. I remember seeing that interview and feeling so embarrassed for the both of them. How truly weird it was.

  16. i am so unbelievable into crispin that i could comfortable live, breathe, and eat him! if there was a “Crispin” Kreme donut, i would so be there. if hes one pill away from the big breakdown, id be the pill. hell be in my dreams forever!

  17. letterman could only be so lucky! crispin glover was bangable then and hes bangable now! YEAH BABY, YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he gets better and better and its so hard to believe! you cant help but be a compulsive stalker, hes so worthy of a restraining order!

  18. I am surprised that apparently, it has not occurred to anyone posting here that perhaps the entire segment was a gag, pre-arranged by Letterman and Crispin as a goof on the audience?

    I’m not saying for that it definitely was, but certainly it is a possibility to be explored.

    And there is precedent for such a postulation, as in some of the Andy Kaufmann segments, for example.

  19. You know, I’m truly sick of everyone calling Crispin Glover ‘crazy’ and ‘weird’. Any other celebrity, they go on a talk show, dress like a bum, just to promote some crappy movie, and go on about how the director and the cast and the gaffer are all “truly wonderful people”. Crispin Glover is a gentleman, he’s intelligent, and when some ignorant being such as David Letterman can’t handle the fact that he’s actually trying to SAY SOMETHING, he starts making jokes? How inconsiderate can someone be? Goodness, I’d kick him in the head myself.

  20. Rachel, if you’re still around after almost two months, what exactly was the SOMETHING that Crispin was saying? Silly how Dave makes jokes out of things people say on the show. It does seem a little EXTREME. Especially for a talk show which always has humor in it. And those wax replicas of diseased eyes? Was that part of the SOMETHING that you were referring too?

  21. I really like Crispin because he brings out

    the “weird” in me and probably others,too.

    You are my kind of guy, Willard, I mean, Crispin.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, babe. I’ll be

    right there with you.

    Linda Lee

  22. i think crispin glover is brilliant and he so hot and has a super cool and versatile demeanor. I wish people just didnt portray him as ignorant looking just because they think he “weird” or whatnot.

  23. I love the Crispin Glover appearance on the Dave Letterman show in July of 1987. I thought it was a very odd interview. I found it so odd that I considered the possibility that the whole thing was set up by Dave and Crispin to put on a show for the audience or Crispin himself planned it with out Dave knowing anything. If that be the case I think they did a great job. It is a very interesting and entertaining segment, whether it was really that disastrous or just staged. I think crispin is a great actor, Bartleby and River’s Edge are two of my favorite performances by him.

  24. It appears to me that Crispin’s all hopped up on several drugs. I’m surprised none of you brought that up in your rants. He is a great actor, and Willard was fantastic, but can anyone say acid trip?

  25. Quite right. At the time, Glover was on LSD. Still, he managed to get that outfit on while tripping. Shame about the wig, though.

  26. Crispin glover does not do drugs. Why must the only explanation for that behavior be drugs? Why do drugs get all the credit for anything creative that was ever done?

  27. I think he was on acid. When he came out on stage, he was arguing with someone off stage (apparantly un-aware that he was on stage). He also look around suddenly and looked at his arms. Once, he looked at his arm and pulled it away quickly. I guess he saw something there.

  28. Yeah, he really let go of himself on that performance. According to sources, Crispin was in an argument with his manager ten minutes prior to his so-called “grand entrance.” He had taken two tabs of LSD after a meal an hour before he went on, and it kicked in forty minutes beforehand, so Letterman apparently knew that something was wrong with Glover. He told the manager to “calm him down” to no avail.

  29. I think he was on Acid, or tripping. When he looked up when people laughed he looked honestly confused as well as terrified. These feelings must have been amplified for him to freak out about press clippings in such a way. It is very sad to watch. It is a person at a very low point in his life.

  30. its the mid 80’s, he’s a famous wealthy actor, HELLOOOO?!?! are you people idiots?!?!? he was obviously high on drugs.

  31. It’s, of course, anyone’s word against Crispin’s, but according to all official sources, he does NOT do drugs. He doesn’t smoke, either. He’s obsessed with healthy food. He doesn’t even drink.

    Is he a little different? Absolutely. Crazy? It depends on your definition of the word. But I’ve acted quite crazy in my time, and I’ve never once done drugs. Believe it or not, people can do all kinds of weird things, and not be on drugs.

    To quote an earlier post on this page: Why do drugs get all the credit for anything creative that was ever done?

    I agree. Though drugs have probably been responsible for the majority of artistic creativity (sadly), I don’t think that necessarily says that every bizarre instance, ever, should be directly attributed to drugs. That line of thinking will just allow drug use to perpetuate itself. It is NOT necessary to take drugs in order to come up with unique thoughts. That depends solely on a person’s mind.

    It’s the mundane people of the world who need to take drugs to be creative and “bizarre.” I don’t personally think Crispin needs any kind of drug to be creative and unique. It comes naturally to him, which is why he’s a true artist. Give him some credit, and don’t automatically assume he’s popping acid just because he’s a little different.

  32. yea people can be creative without drugs… but that guys was high on something and acid would definitely make sense.

  33. Whether he was on drugs or not is a pointless debate topic.

    Clarifications: He exhibited behaviors typical and inherent in relation to novice psychadelic users.

    I have two theories.

    1) He spoofed an earlier eccentric: watch man on the moon or read a book: http://www.universalpictures.com/manonthemoon/

    2) He was trippin’…

    Who cares. It was hilarious and I hope that he is doing well now in his life and more power to him for being a genius or high.

  34. i think the letterman interview was brilliant, i know for a fact that crispin glover was not on acid during the interview although it was a very good impersionation of an acid trip, ask me i know a hundred times over, when i watched it i had to watch it over and over again to realize he was impersonating an acid trip. this made me realize what a great performance it truly was, almost perfect. letterman thought so hehehe he kicked the lsd maniac off the show, what a titty! what were his words….”you ever see a man drown like this” his dude in the box replied “him?” and he replies “no, me!” i actually think crispin had to have done lsd in his past to get that kind of grasp on its exact effects so out the window with all the crispin never did drugs theory. you can tell in rivers edge he was a partier in the past. crispin glover was so convincing almost everyone thinks to this day he was on lsd, what a perfect acting job he did.

  35. cg: People seem to make me seem a lot weird. And I’m just–I’m strong, you know. (flexes arm) I’m strong. I can arm wrestle. Do you want to arm wrestle?

    this is an attempt to mimic lsd behavior

    cg: People seem to make me seem a lot weird.

    he was trying to hard right here lsd is more fluid when speaking, even when u are wasted you do not shorten and mix your sentances in this manner plus if he was on acid to that degree he would have been laughing a lot more as well as having limited responses such as “Yeah!?!” and “I know!!”

    so you see crispin was JUST acting to be on lsd and id say he got it about 80% accurate i bet he tried it before but didnt do it enough to get it 100%

  36. Acid? Gimme a break…I’ve done acid quite a few times and this is not what I or anyone I know behaved like while under the influence…

    I much prefer to think it was a Kaufman-esque homage…though it did seem rather plain that Dave was taken aback – one of the few times I’ve ever seen that…

  37. I think Crispin Glover is really hott….i dont care what my friends say about him…hes my kinda type….he’s tall, somewhat skinny, pale, black hair, beautiful eyes, ahem… big feet…..LOL!I think hes an excellent actor also.The movie Willard he was in was awsome!I didnt find the movie as a horror film though.I didnt think it was scary at all.And if Crispin was supposed to look or act scary in willard… he didnt he looked hott lol!Every time willard comes on my tv i try to watch it..it came on today actually lol!Crispin reminds me of Carlos D. from the band interpol…but Carlos is alot hotter than he is…..I know this chat thing is only supposed to be about Crispin but…..Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand the band is really really friggin hott. Go to the website i posted.Believ me you’ll thank me….

  38. hey kitty if you have done acid than it should be blatantly obvious crispin was trippin his face off. and rick you don’t laugh when you are bugging out!! how many times did you people all trip twice, three times?? you can’t make neat little comments about how someone behaves on such a powerful drug.- you do this you don’t do that. those are just not accurate statements. didn’t you ever start to bug out, not even once. to me it seemed crispin was in his own little world, quite confused and on the continual verge of bugging out and trying to keep it together. him being on LSD could never have been so obvious.

  39. It was an act!!! He doesn’t tell anything to the media, but he tells people personally what it was and it was an act!! Come on, it’s so obvious ala Andy Kaufman!! What’s wrong with you, people??

  40. you can’t say he definitely wasn’t tripping based on what you yourself and those you know have experienced. anyone who has done psychedelics knows they affect each person differently each time. whether he was or wasn’t, i don’t know. i would say he acted more tweaked out than tripped, but he very ewll could’ve just been acting the whole thing. either way, it was good entertainment, and that’s what counts. rick, how do you “know for a fact” that he wasn’t on acid? do you know crispin glover personally?

  41. oh please, who ever said he was acting needs to stfu. Why would he act being high. He was HIGH ON LSD!

  42. yeah it was a character he was trying out. It’s a shame that when Letterman gets someone on the show who is truly unique and original he has to put them down for it. Andy Kaufman was the same. I quite like the Letterman show but Dave himself can be a prick at times, all he does is make a few lame jokes and ask a few rudimentary questions anyway. The few times Dave actually stops his one line barrage and engages in conversation he comes off sounding like a imbecile. I also get the impression Dave doesn’t go out much..it’s a wonder he even had a kid because he doesn’t come across as someone who could mantain a compassionate relationship with a woman.

  43. I doubt Crispin was a drugs. The guys is an actor for gods sake and he had an audience. Of course he’s going to play up to it and slip into his usual weird style. Can’t you people see that? Don’t you have any creative energy at all? Have you never played up to friends just to get a reaction? Because life is oh so sane and healthy, anyone who has a differing perspective has to be high? I think Crispin has a Kaufman complex and likes to fuck with people. Not everyone in the world wants to be funny and charming.

  44. Theres just as much chance of him faking it as there is him being on acid.

    Those people who seem to think they can place peoples behaviour under LSD as doing this or this have obviously not done many trips and therefore havnt got a valid base to talk about LSD. He was either doing a real good acting job, or he was freaking out on a trip – simple.

  45. I cant believe how many people this dude got to believe he was trippin. what a brilliant actor.

    first of all, he had a movie coming out where the character was the one you saw on the Letterman show. He was just testing out the character folks.

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