Joel Hodgson Collection on Letterman, 1983-84

Just rewatched this and laughed so hard. Thought I’d post it here for anyone who hadn’t seen it.


OFF TOPIC: If you are a Letterman fan, specifically a fan of the NBC Late Night With David Letterman, Don Giller’s archive on YouTube is a gift. It’s no longer being updated since Letterman has launched their own YouTube channel and hired Giller to assist. So far, they haven’t asked Giller to remove his clips, and you can have a brilliant time going down that rabbit hole.

On Topic: David Letterman briefly hosted Freeze Dried Movies, a late night B-Movie showcase, on WLWI in Indianapolis. Sadly none of his wrap arounds have surfaced, but it sounds like it was thisclose to riffing?


Is this the same Indianapolis show that once introduced its movies as “Movies for Mandolin Picks”? I remember watching the movie Riot on Sunset Strip and there were sketches in between commercial breaks.


No idea, sadly. There’s a bit more about early Letterman hosting history included in this Kliph Nesteroff piece over at WFMU but no mention of that show.


Joel’s inventiveness on stage really set him apart from the standard “prop comics” of that era. The fact he also had an appearance on SNL says as much. It really foreshadowed the brilliant stuff he’d later pull off in the invention exchanges.

“If you’re like me, and I know I am…”
One of my favorite Joel-isms ever right there. It’s cool that his laid back nature and wit as Joel Robinson was also present in his stand-up.

Great rapport with Dave as well. It’s great to see. I feel like Letterman may have been a fan.

Of course, hindsight and context make Joel’s eventual career feel inevitable. However, I really feel like these segments show a performer on the verge of truly breaking out and finding his niche. And what a niche it continues to be. :yellow_heart:


And to think he could have gotten rich being a wacky neighbor.


Joel was a big favorite of Letterman’s during this era, as the laid-back goofiness of his act provided perfect material for Dave’s trademark confused reaction shots.


“Mystery Science Lab 2000”. Some of that sounds familiar…


I find it interesting to watch the way Joel’s act and delivery evolved over the course of these appearances. The last one is markedly different (bolder?) from the first.

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Wow, this is just as I remember it, even that double headed dummy’s theme song! Haven’t seen this since. Thaks for posting this video!