David Letterman Steals Almost 50-Year-Old Joke From Woody Allen

It must be getting tough for the folks at the CBS Late Show to find material.

On Monday, host David Letterman during his opening monologue actually stole a joke from Woody Allen that’s almost 50 years old (video follows with transcript and commentary):

“Coney Island, the amusement park Coney Island has reopened, and it was completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy,” Letterman teased. “It destroyed the rides, it destroyed the concessions, it destroyed the Midway."

"As a matter of fact, you know that booth where you for a buck or two bucks, whatever it is, you get a softball and you try to knock down those milk bottles?" Letterman asked. "Those milk bottles were the only things that were not knocked down. They were the only things that still standing."

In reality, this joke was autobiographically written and told by Woody Allen sometime in the mid-1960s.

The following comes from a routine titled “Unhappy Childhood” from Allen’s 1972 album “The Nightclub Years 1964-1968”:

“I was talking about this on TV last week. I escape always into a rich fantasy life, that comes from an unhappy childhood. I come from a poor family. My father worked at Coney Island. He had a concession on the boardwalkwhere you knock over milk bottles with baseballs, which I could never do for my entire childhood. There was a tidal wave at Coney Island, when I was a child. It ripped up the boardwalk and did about a million dollars-worth of damage, houses and everything. The only thing left standing were those little milk bottles.”

You know, if the folks at the Late Show are struggling for material, they could consider jokes about the current White House resident, or is that still verboten?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.