THE LAST SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (TRANSCRIPT OF MARG’S INTERVIEW)
April 1, 2009
David: Our next guest stars on the very popular CBS television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and listen to this, 200th episode tomorrow night on CSI. How about that? 200th episode. Ladies and gentlemen, the always lovely Marg Helgenberger!
David: How ya doing?
Marg: I’m good! They’ve got a little heavy metal for me.
Paul: A little heavy metal. Yeah, yeah.
Marg: Thank you, Paul.
Paul: ‘Hell’s Bells’.
Marg: That’s what it was?! I love AC/DC!
Paul: Helgenberger’s Bells.
Marg: You always choose such cool stuff. Thank you! (To Dave) I don’t mean to ignore you…
David: Let me know when you’re done talking to the band. (Marg laughs).
Paul: Oh come on, we were just starting to get along.
David: I know, I know.
Marg: That was rude. I’m sorry. I apologize, David.
David: Hey, congratulations. 200th episode. That’s a big deal, isn’t it? How many seasons is 200 episodes?
Marg: We’re in our ninth.
David: Oh wow, that’s great. It’s unheard of these days for a show to be on…good for you!
Marg: Thank you, thank you.
David: And do you and the cast…
Marg: How many for you? 27? 21?
David: 27, I don’t know. Yeah, that’s right. 27 years.
David: Yeah, but have you seen the show?
Marg: It’s better than ever. (Dave laughs).
David: Now, do you and your castmates celebrate? Do you do something special to commemorate 200 shows?
Marg: Well, CBS…they really know how to throw a big barnburner. Yeah, it was cake, sparkling apple cider and a few speeches. (laughs)
David: There you go. You must be doing something right.
Marg: Oh yeah, exactly. Mmmhmmm.
David: I remember this from one of your visits and…it’s been a while, I’m sorry to say, but I remember this from one of your visits…that you’re from the Midwest, solid Midwest farm country. Iowa?
David: So, we had the kid on who was the bagging champion, and I know this about you, that you worked summers and after school, but it wasn’t grocery stores per say, was it? But it was a food industry. I’m right about that, aren’t I?
Marg: That’s right. That’s right. I was in meat packing. Yes, I was in…for summers, in the summers and Christmas time – summer relief, season relief. And I did a variety of things. It really sucked, I gotta tell you. I did things like cut abscesses from the chucks of beef.
David: Oh man!
Marg: I pulled gristle and fat off of the assembly line and I was a boner for a while and umm… (audience laughs)
David: Do you do much boning now?
David: That’s awful. That’s just awful, isn’t it?
Marg: I always keep my knives sharp. (Audience laughs)
David: Marg, let’s go back to the abscesses.
David: I mean, I can deal with the gristle and the bone and the whatever, the sinew ligament stuff, but the abscesses. How often? What description?
Marg: How often would it happen?
Marg: I suppose it would happen about three or four times on a shift, and it was pretty gnarly. I mean, it was part of the beef called the chuck, and it would come out on a head rail, and you’d just have to – sometimes you’d see it, sometimes you wouldn’t. You’d just kind of take a stab at it and sometimes it would splurt. It was a really…I don’t mean to be so graphic, but since you asked…
David: Woo Hoo! ‘Sometimes it would splurt’ (laughs). Clean up on aisle nine! We got a splurting abscess! (Dave and Marg laugh)
David: But no, I know that meat handling and like in slaughterhouses and so forth, is one of the most dangerous occupations you can have. I didn’t know that they turned kids loose on this kind of stuff.
Marg: Believe it or not, yeah they did. I mean, I actually did have one job that was a cushy job. It was working in the room where they actually make boxes because you have to break the meat down and fabricate it, you know.
David: Was it for general shipping purposes?
Marg: Correct, yeah. And I didn’t have to wear the frock and the hard hat. I just wore my jeans and t-shirt, and it was warm in there – because they’d usually have to keep it cooler temperatures…I—turns out I was allergic to the dust in the cardboard, you know, so I ended up getting hives and it happened to be New Year’s Eve, and I couldn’t go out that night…
David: Oh my God!
Marg: The one cushy job in the Break and Fab department and I…
David: Put you back on the abscess. Splurt! (makes stabbing motion)
David: You think about how lucky you are…I mean, that was a tough thing, whether you knew it or not, and I suppose your folks thought ‘Well, it’s a good way for her to learn the real world, make some money’ and stuff like that. But thank God, you don’t have to do that with your kids now.
Marg: Thank God. Yes.
David: We’ll be right back here with Marg Helgenberger, ladies and gentlemen.
David: Yeah. You look lovely, Marg.
Marg: Thank you, David.
David: You have a… we were talking about kids and you have…How old is your son?
Marg: He’s 18.
David: 18 years old. That’s the same age as the bagging champion.
Marg: Yeah! Yeah. Cute age…
David: And what is he like now…in college?
Marg: He’s a freshman at the University of Indiana.
David: IU. They’re in Bloomington, Indiana.
Marg: Hoosier Mama! (audience laughs)
David: What is he studying?
Marg: He is undecided right now.
Marg: Yes. He actually was just home for Spring Break.
David: Came home for Spring Break, so…I think that’s a good sign.
Marg: Came home…Well yes, I was touched that he wanted to come home as opposed to, you know, Cancun. He called me a few days before he came home and said that he was hoping to ‘bring home a couple of homies’, his homies…
Marg: Homies. Fools…
David: Fools, right.
Marg: Terms of affection, you know.
Marg: I said, ‘well, how many homies are you talking about?’ He said ‘uhhh, three?’ I was thinking it was probably more than that, and I said ‘Sure, yeah!’ I always like having a bunch of kids around the house, you know. And he came home sporting a full lumberjack beard and… which was quite freaky, but nonetheless, that’s what happens, right? They group up…
David: How many fools?
Marg: Fools. There were three that stayed. Sometimes there would be more, and I…
David: Is that a posse? 3? Is that a posse or not a posse?
Marg: Uhh, usually a posse is larger than that.
David: Yeah, true. So the guys come home…
Marg: They come home and I said, ‘Look, I was you to have some fun. You’re on your Spring Break.’ Well, it essentially came to me…Spring Break came to me. But his room is up on the second floor, and it’s kind of his own little suite. He’s got a bathroom, and a deck, a rooftop deck off of the bathroom. So I said, ‘You guys, I’m not going to police you. Have a good time but don’t be…don’t do anything stupid.’ Um, so, you know, all night long, it was kids up and down, la la la, right and I just finally got to sleep and they eventually got to sleep. I poked my head in in the morning just to make sure everyone was there. They all appeared to be breathing (laughs), so I went downstairs to get some coffee in the breakfast room. There’s a skylight and I’m noticing as I’m drinking my coffee, the skylight is caked with barf.
(Audience laughs and David starts clapping)
David: There you go. In the 27 years we’ve been on the air, nobody has ever discussed skylights caked in barf.
Marg: God, well…
David: Congratulations, Marg.
Marg: Thank you. Thank you. (laughs)
Marg: And I don’t think it was food poisoning.
David: No. Probably not food poisoning.
Marg: So, I woke…well, I let them sleep in until about 12:30. I finally woke them up and I said ‘Hey guys, I’ve got a job for you. All right.’ I brought up all the cleaning supplies, including- I happen to have a box of industrial strength rubber gloves – that coroners wear when they’re handling decomposing bodies…
Marg: And I took the guys out there and they, of course, saw it and were just completely grossed out by it, ‘Ew, dude! Must have been Tyler’s friend!’. And so they all put on these gloves and it was just ridiculous, hilarious how they didn’t want to touch the stuff. Eventually they got it all cleaned up. So anyway, parents, if you’re…
David: But pleaded some ignorance, some knowledge, were surprised or not surprised that it was there?
Marg: Umm, all of that. All of that. And uh, but you’d think I had asked them to wade through sewage, honestly, the way they were responding to cleaning up the barf.
David: But barf on the skylight, I’m gonna…
Marg: Well, they thought they were getting away with it because…it’s got a railing around this deck and they thought, I guess, that it was just going over…
David: Going over…into the roses…
David: Oh man. What a way to start your day!
David: (pretends to be staring up at a skylight) – That is Chef Boyardee. It’s the canned ravioli.
David: Oh my God.
David: Well, this is a nice thing. 200th episode. Congratulations to you and everybody involved with the program. You can see it tomorrow night at 9:00pm right here on CBS. This is the always lovely Marg Helgenberger, ladies and gentlemen.
Marg: Thank you.