David Letterman is no stranger to feuds, having engaged in public disputes with other icons such as Jay Leno and Oprah during the height of his talk show fame. In addition to those celebrities, Letterman also had a major argument with Quentin Tarantino, who was so angry that he threatened to beat the life out of Letterman with a baseball bat.
This rivalry started when Letterman was conducting a television interview and a famous star was dating Tarantino. When he found that she was actually in a relationship with the filmmaker, Letterman bombarded her with feigned shock and claimed that he could not believe that Tarantino had managed to impress such a beautiful woman.
Recalling the entire debacle on the season premiere of Desus & Mero, Letterman explained: “I’m thinking the idea is Quentin Tarantino is this movie store nerd from when you were able to go take out movies from the store. He was a self-described movie nerd. So I’m [joking] about how this glorious movie star is dating this little squirrelly guy.”
Tarantino did not take it well at all and allegedly called the talk show host up two days after the interview. Talking about Tarantino’s behaviour over the call, Letterman described him as unhinged and “full blown, clinically goofy”. He also revealed that Tarantino made several physical threats and even promised to kill the talk show host.
Elaborating on the contents of their volatile telephone conversation, Letterman provided details about what Tarantino said: “He starts screaming at me, ‘I’m going to beat you to death, I’m going to kill you. I’m coming to New York and I’m going to beat the crap out of you. How can you say that about me?'”
According to Letterman, the phone conversation did not cool off at any point. Instead, it kept escalating as both parties made angry remarks about the whole situation. When he asked Tarantino about his weapon of choice in a potential fight, the director replied that he was going to show up with a bat to “beat the hell out of” Letterman.
Their feud did not dissipate for years until Tarantino appeared on The Late Show as a part of the promotion campaign for his subversive war film Inglourious Basterds. When Letterman went to his dressing room before the episode, Tarantino immediately said: “I think you owe me an apology” and Letterman finally did apologise before cooling things down by joking about the entire event.