Remembering when Bill Murray beat up a heckler on the David Letterman show
David Letterman and Bill Murray have a history like no other.
From the very moment Murray became the first-ever guest to appear on Late Night with David Letterman back in 1982, the two have been close friends and even closer colleagues.
Having appeared on the show multiple times during Letterman’s emphatic 31 years on air, Murray’s performances began to grow more ridiculous with every passing appearance. Murray, who was regularly on the show to promote a new film, would meander away into different avenues and, on the first show, said: “I had a chance to strangle Richard Nixon and I didn’t, and I regret it,” which marked a weirdness which would continue for three decades. “And here I am, inches from [Letterman],” he added in what would become a baptism of fire for host, an instant taster in what he would need to manage in the years that followed.
The rapport that Letterman and Murray would build overtime made for excellent viewing, two comedians playing with the boundaries of social norms all while attempting to promote a motion picture. So in 1991, when Murray returned once more to the stage but this time to promote his film What About Bob?, the actor had some new tricks up his sleeve—much to the major surprise to Letterman’s audience members.
Always keen to make an entrance, Murray recruited Letterman’s longstanding writer Joe Furey to partake in a skit which would see him act as an overzealous heckler. As Furey whoops and cheers, Murray responds: “If you get chance while you’re here, check out the rest of the world,” much to the amusement of the crowd.
With responses of “you suck” and “I might enjoy it if you, Letterman, weren’t here” Murray steps up to defend his friend and takes the heckler outback for a beatdown.