When Crispin Glover almost kicked David Letterman in the face

Crispin Glover delivered one of the most infamous late-night performances in television history on July 28, 1987. Whether it was brilliant or cringe-worthy continues to be debated.

The eccentric actor had seen his star rise thanks to a scene-stealing role in the 1984s Friday the 13th: The Final Chapterfollowed by a trip when George McFly entered Back to the Future.

A scheduled appearance at Late night with David Letterman was intended to promote his new film, the dark indie drama River’s Edge. Instead, Glover delivered a bizarre and confusing interview with no clear purpose or direction.

From the moment Letterman introduced his guest, Glover appeared distressed. He wore a clashing outfit of striped printed pants, a short-sleeved shirt, black platform shoes and an off-center wig. “I’m having a really good summer,” Glover mumbled awkwardly early in the interview, squirming in his chair.

Apparently suspicious of what was unfolding in front of him, Letterman tried to throw some softball questions at his guest, but Glover didn’t engage. Instead, Glover launched into a frivolous rant about how he was portrayed in the media.

“The press, they can do things. They can twist things around,” Glover declared, before pulling newspaper clippings from his pocket and frantically reading stories about himself.

“Paul, do you have anything to add here?” asked a confused and embarrassed Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer, who quickly shook his head and said “No.”

As Glover continued to read press clippings, Letterman turned back to his bandleader. “Paul, is this the first time you’ve seen another man drown? Is this the first time you’ve seen another man die?”

Unimpressed with what happened on his show, Letterman tried to rein in Glover’s antics. “You seem distraught,” Letterman suggested. “People try to make me sound really weird. I’m strong. You know I’m strong,” Glover replied, pulling up his sleeve and flexing his bicep. Things only got weirder from there. Glover offered to fight Letterman, who thanked No. Glover then karate-kicked within inches of the host’s face, eventually convincing Letterman to end the segment.

“I’m going to go check the Top 10,” Letterman declared as he walked offstage and briefly left his guest alone before the show cut to commercial. When Late evening returned from break, Glover was gone and Letterman was back behind his desk.

“I think this is the first time we’ve done this show that a guest actually tried to kick me,” Letterman remarked lightly, referring to Glover as “some jerk, some jerk from wherever.” Letterman admitted that Glover “came very close to bulging my head with those giant shoes, so I thought, ‘I don’t need that. I’m 40. I went to college. That’s not how I want my life must end.”

Watch Crispin Glover on ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’

Even in an era before social media, talk about Crispin Glovers Late evening appearance spread quickly. Many questioned whether the notoriously unconventional actor had played a part. Some thought Glover was being satirical. Others theorized that he might be on drugs.

Letterman only fanned the flames further when he opened his next show with a skit describing Glover’s appearance as a bad dream. “Dave, it wasn’t a dream. He was on the show,” Shaffer explained to Letterman, before vowing it would never happen again as he and stage manager Biff Henderson followed Glover back to his hotel. “We choked him with his mattress. He’s dead,” Henderson noted, much to Letterman’s delight.

Interestingly, Glover returned to Late evening only a few weeks later and was much more jovial. However, he was vague when asked about his past antics. “I wanted it to be this interesting kind of thing that would happen that people would find interesting,” Glover explained through laughter.

He ended up playing the role of Rubin Farr in the 1991 comedy Rubin & Ed, and Farr’s demeanor and appearance were reminiscent of Glover’s Letterman interview. This led many fans to speculate that the method actor was simply in character Late evening. Yet in the decades since his swinging foot came incredibly close to Letterman’s face, Glover has consistently avoided directly answering questions about that night.

“What I say in the media that we’re in right now — what I always answer is, ‘I’m neither confirming nor denying that I’ve ever been on the David Letterman show.’ Which, of course, there’s a sense of humor in it – you can do whatever you want,” Glover shared Huffington Post in 2012. “When I started acting, my concept of advertising … my interest was just to be an actor. I’ve never really been that comfortable with publicity.”

Glover admitted to a separate interview with Interviewing Hollywood that he enjoyed the fact that no one knew what to make of his behavior.

“I like that there’s an air of mystery. If I just said exactly what it is, it’s not interesting. It doesn’t let people think about things,” he said.

“I think people still think that this person could either have something wrong with them mentally or that there was some kind of drug influence. There are all kinds of conjectures about what it could be. Or that , who knows what it could be? People believe different things. I’d just rather let them assume.”

David Letterman’s Most Memorable Late Moments

A roundup of David Letterman’s most memorable late-night moments.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.