DAVE PERFORMS STAND-UP!
It was at the Comedy
Store, in Los Angeles, California that Dave first met Jay
Leno. Jay was quite impressed with Dave as a comedian and
considered him serious competition. Dave admired Jay Leno
as well - and studied Jay's interaction with his audience
members, noting that Jay tried to befriend his audiences
and make them part of his show. Dave's edge was that he
was extremely creative and that he was an excellent
writer. He is quite intelligent and this shows in his
material. On stage, Dave was no longer insecure and
unpopular and he began to "own the stage" with
his new found confidence. This fresh/smart/ hip Comedian
continued to have success at The Comedy Store, and was
soon admired by his fellow comedians.
Although Dave enjoyed success at the Comedy Store - his
personal life was beginning to suffer. He did not like
Hollywood and thought that it was phony and dishonest.
Dave finally hired an agent, but his agent turned out to
be a bad choice. So, Letterman fired her and decided to
manage his own career. But his association with the agent
did give him some confidence that he was desired by the
Dave's career began to progress after parting with his
manager. This is almost unheard of in the entertainment
world. But Dave's comedic talent saw him through - even
without an agent. After Dave appeared at several other
Comedy Store type clubs - the television industry started
to take note of him. So Dave gave the manager thing
another try, hiring Jack Rollins, an Entertainment
manager whose resume included such stars as Woody Allen,
Billy Crystal and others.
Dave's new manager wanted Dave to steer his career toward
television. Dave wanted to steer his love life toward a
new person that he met at the Comedy Store. Once an Art
teacher in So. California, Merrill Markoe wanted to take
her career in another direction. Apparently, she loved to
write comedy and tried to write comedy for television.
She also performed stand up comedy at this time at, where
else but - the Comedy Store. I am sure you can deduce
what followed next. Dave asked Merrill to go out with
him. Soon, a relationship started to develop. As a result
of this relationship with Dave, Merrill began to write
comedy for Dave's act.
Dave began to discuss his dreams of becoming a Late Night
Talk Show Host with Merrill. Dave polished his act and
fine-tuned his stage presence until he felt confident
enough to hold an audience captive for more than thirty
minutes at a time. Dave decided to try out for the
Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in November of 1978.
Dave was ready but nervous and anxious - this was his big
moment and he did not want to lose his big chance...