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Dr. Thompson post the second: because 'waaah, he died' is not a sufficient memorial.

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

Dr. Thompson post the second: because 'waaah, he died' is not a sufficient memorial.

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sweet god YES.
This happened back in the 80s.

You may remember a gentleman named David Letterman had a television show on NBC back then. it was called 'Late Night with David Letterman'.

I was watching one evening. And David said 'Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a very special guest tonight- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.'

*mad applause* Out slunk a Dr. Thompson who looked coked to the gills and completely uncertain about the bright lights and the undivided attention of thousands of people he could see (and how many millions he couldn't?).

'Dr. Thompson! It's great to have you here!' Dave greeted him.

'There're CIA men in your green room.'

'...' said Dave.

'They were telling me how they killed JFK. And Marilyn. And they're gonna kill me, too. FUCK I need a cigarette.'

Now, someone backstage at Letterman made a grevious error in judgement. They allowed the good Doctor to carry a satchel onstage with him. Said satchel was about 6" wide, about 12" long, and maybe 2" thick. At this juncture the good doctor started digging through it. Presumably for the aforementioned cigarettes.
While ranting on and on about the CIA men in the green room, he excavated a small ziploc baggie of red M&Ms and waved it around in one hand. I assume that's what they were, because clearly nobody would let him on stage with upwards of 20 500mg methamphetamine tabets -- EDIT: they were downers, as prickvixen pointed out below.
You can probably tell I wasn't much of a user of pharmaceutical-grade sedatives, huh.

But the red M&Ms were not what we were looking for, though, and the Doctor stuffed them back into the bag. "Fuck, Dave, there's conspiracy everywhere." Here, is this the cigarettes? No, no, this is a bag of baking soda. About 5 grams of baking soda, carefully measured out.
THERE. There are the Kools. Dr. Thompson shoves one into his mouth, tucks the pack back into his satchel, and goes to excavate a lighter. In the process of digging for the lighter he produces
a CHROME-PLATED .44 AUTOMATIC
and waves it around on the stage, dig dig dig, rant ramble mutter mutter mutter. There's the lighter, the gun goes back in the bag, and we cut to David's face.
If you've watched Letterman much, you've almost seen the expression he was wearing.
Almost.
You know how there're moments where David is 'staring at something astonishedly' in a sketch? and you can tell it's fake shock- that he's going to grin at you any minute with genuine amusement?
This was the genuine 'OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I DONE I AM GOING TO GET FIRED ANY SECOND NOW' moment. The moment I realized that no, that was not a bag of red M&Ms and a bag of baking soda. The moment I knew that the gun was real. And Dave turns to the camera and says, with a smile as stiff and saccharine as a wedding-cake decoration, "We're going to go to a commercial, we'll be right back!"

Commercial.

Back.

No Dr. Thompson.

No MENTION of Dr. Thompson.

No mention that there had Ever been Anything Named Dr. Hunter S. Thompson at Any Point in Recorded History.

...
I am not sure I ever laughed so hard in my life, before or since.
  • Thanks. I needed the laugh.
  • According to maps.google.com it's a 19hr drive to Woody Creek and my housemates uncle lives down the road from Owl Farm. Once word of a public memorial is made, I might be taking a trip out with her if you're interested.
  • he was not a fake, as some would say.

    (Anonymous)
    wow. perhaps in a memoir somewhere we'll be privvy to the fully story.
  • Damn! How did I miss that one! So perfect. So Thompson. Thanks for making me laugh, I needed it.
  • I thought reds were downers. At least that's what Cheech & Chong told me.

    I'm guessing they offered to take the bag, but that never in a million years was he going to give it up. :)
  • Brilliant

    Please save my space in the "thanks for sharing" queue.
  • Oh holy god. I'd never heard that one. That's so, so him.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    He'll be so missed.

    Pev
  • Bwahahaha! That's so awesome that you chose this story to write about, because for a long, long while I was sure I'd just dreamed the entire thing! So surreal, and no one ever spoke of it again, no mention on the show or in the papers, it was hushed up like nothing I'd seen on TV before.

    Ahhh, thanks for the excellent retelling :)
  • 20 500 MILLIGRAM METHAMPHETAMINE TABLETS? What the hell is the use of a 500 mg methamphetamine tablet? Do you use them for money or what?
    • NO fucking clue. But an M&M is 500mg, roughly.

      Someone pointed out above that reds were dope, rather than speed, so that may explain a bit.
  • jesus, what a story! :)
    • Glad it amused you- and thank you for being my first comment from the Russian Federation! :)
  • (Anonymous)
    There is no record of Hunter S. Thompson ever being a guest on Letterman:

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0083441/guests

    Moreover, other apocryphal sources claim that he brought a live bomb on stage in 1983. (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=hunter+thompson+david+letterman+bomb&btnG=Search)

    Still, is there any credible record of his appearance? Other than your account?

    • And strontium90's recollection?
    • Also, imdb apparently needs to alter their listings: I somehow doubt that one could put together a 2-hour DVD featuring Hunter S. Thompson's appearance on David Letterman if no such appearance transpired.

      This was the 4th hit at Google for 'Hunter S. Thompson Letterman'. the 3rd was gonzo.org.

      So I'd suggest that yes, he appeared on Letterman in '85, as referenced at both links above. But hey, let's look for another appearance, why don't we?

      Failed effort there, killjoy. ;)
      • HST

        (Anonymous)
        Actually, the time I saw Thompson on Letterman, he didn't have a bag, or a gun (possibly 89 or so?), so he must have been on at least twice.

        You still couldn't understand a word he said. (http://www.arguewithsigns.net/archives/2005/02/21/more_on_thompson_gonzo/)
        • Re: HST

          Another appearance, the above- looks like he was on there at least thrice.

          Given that Shirley MacLaine tried to pull off his 'toupee' to his wailed protests and has been on since- and Crispin Glover kicked him in the head and came back again later, well. I think he's willing to bring back difficult guests.
      • (Anonymous)
        Fair enough! I ♥ empiricism.

        • As ought we all.

          And hey, I hadn't known that HST was a friend of Warren Zevon's, and wouldn't have if I hadn't gone digging. So if you're the anonymous party who kicked off the research, thanks. ;)
  • Oh, now that's reality television. What a fabulous story.
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