David Marchese: I’ve always loved Leaves of Grass, so it’s a pleasure to meet the man who wrote it.
David Letterman: I’ve given up on making that kind of joke because I ran out of people with beards other than Walt Whitman that anyone knew — the joke didn’t work as well when I used Frederick Douglass. But great things have happened to me since I’ve been walking around with this beard. I was in Santa Monica, at the Ocean Park Café, and this woman comes over and she says, “Are you who I think you are?” And I said, “That depends on who you think I am.” She said, “You’re Chuck Close.” I said, “Yeah, yeah, I am.” She said, “Oh my God” — she has a whole story. She was an art major, and for her final project she did a pencil-drawing portrait of Chuck Close. She said, “It was the best thing I did in all of college.” I finally said, “I’m not Chuck Close.” Boom, she’s out like a shot. Gone. Then she comes back and says, “That really disappoints me.”
The other thing is that somebody who loves Chuck Close that much might know that, unlike you, he’s in a wheelchair.
Good point. I wish you had been with us.