An intern looks back at “Late Show with David Letterman” (COMMENTARY)

IMG_1695 If I could have wadded up the resume and cover letter and mailed it in one big ball I would have. That’s how much I thought it wasn’t going to happen.

I had applied for the summer internship for “Late Show with David Letterman” and was denied. However, the HR department urged me to re-apply for the fall and, reluctantly, I did. The journey began with rejection, but I had the pleasure of interning at “Late Show with David Letterman” in the fall of 2007.

Proven wrong, I showed up in Brooklyn, New York, in August and started on one of the coolest gigs I will ever have. I was there for four months: 2 months full of show tapings and 2 months full of front-lines action of the famous writers strike of 2007.

I was the Human Interest intern and my duties involved assisting in the production side of segments such as “Stupid Human Tricks,” “Stupid Pet Tricks,” authors, sports stars, and anyone performing a talent that might have seemed out of the ordinary. One of my favorite memories was standing on 53rd St. helping out on a bit where an acrobat did a front flip over a taxi cab using jumping stilts. Another time, an ATV jumped over multiple taxis landing safely on the other side. The taxi-jumping thing was a running gag that generated many hilarious and creative ideas (that I suggest you look up on YouTube). The lights, the camera, the action! If you’re imagining how exciting it was, I can confirm that it was a blast.

IMG_2098One of my other favorite moments was when another acrobat did a front flip over me and 5 other interns on the show. I was also very fond of getting to spend time in the green room – the very one where the Beatles waited before the very first time they performed on American television. The Ed Sullivan theater was such an incredibly rich taste of television history and I am so blessed to be able to have called it home for that short period of my life.

Now as a youth minister for a United Methodist church, I often think back to those days and reflect on the things I learned at Letterman that I have brought into my ministry. I realize that being a minister is a lot like being a producer. You have to do your research, see what the big stories are that are going on around you in order to connect to your audience/congregation. The fact that something almost always goes wrong in television trained me well for the sometimes complicated and flexible environment of working in a church. Networking is important – meeting, connecting with people.

IMG_2298The production was such a well-oiled machine. Everyone had their part and despite how people felt about one another, everyone was mostly able to put differences aside and come together to create a great show every single day. We have to do that in ministry. We come to church with a common goal: to learn how to bring the love of Christ to the world, putting aside differences and overlooking flaws to see the potential of one another and ultimately try to bring something special to those around us each and every day.

My time at “Late Show with David Letterman” was short but I thank God for the opportunity and for the lifelong friends I met who shaped and guided the person I would become.


Tyler Flowers is a guest contributor to UMR. Tyler is Director of Youth Ministries at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Gainesville, GA.  He has been working with youth for ten years and still uses his media background in producing, editing and shooting video resources for churches and various other organizations.

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Paul W.
Paul W.

When I was in college, working at Late Night with David Letterman would have been my dream job! Great article!

Also, many thanks for your service in Youth Ministry! Blessing to you in a very hard and very important job!

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