There was a time when late-night television hosts had the ability to provide viewers with engaging, highly entertaining television programming without the required use of nightly political rants and super-cheesy karaoke skits. This, of course, was way back in the 1980s when there was still a well-respected entertainment value in the simple practice of good ‘ol conversation,
Such was the case for David Letterman, who welcomed Bobby Weir and Jerry Garcia to the Late Night with David Letterman studios on April 13th, 1982 for a sit-down interview which has since made its way into Grateful Dead history.
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The interview, which took place just a few months after Late Night with David Letterman made its NBC debut on February 1st, 1982, opened with Letterman teaching Garcia the fundamentals of guitar playing with a quick “Proud Mary” tutorial. The two are then welcomed to the stage where a spaced-out Weir and Garcia (who’s able to hold it together) regaled viewers on the utopian memories of San Francisco in the 1960s.
It was during this opening question that Weir delivered what has since become a fan-favorite inside joke within the Deadhead community.
“Well first off there was the Acid Tests and that was a barrel of fun,” Weir stated, before then channeling his inner Hank Hill to continue with the trademark punchline, “More fun than a frog in a glass of milk.” Weir then appeared to completely lose his train of thought, requiring Garcia to come in and scoop up his friend’s clearly-melted mind and accompany his bandmate’s sudden loss of any cognitive ability by adding, “I was going to apologize for not having any memory. I’m pretty sure it was fun though.”
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“At the time, it seemed as though things were going to change real fast,” Garcia continued. “There was this amazing momentum. When the Acid Tests were happening, it started with, ya know, 50-60 people or something like that, and in a matter of weeks it escalated to 3,000.”
The two—mostly Jerry, as Weir was still pretty far out—continued talking about the inner workings of the Grateful Dead family, Deadheads (many of whom were in the audience), tapers, and more. Their appearance on the show also featured acoustic performances of “Deep Elem Blues” and “Monkey & The Engineer”.
Relive the hilarious interview and duet performances below.
Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir – Late Night with David Letterman – 4/13/82
Weir continues to use his favorite catchphrase to this day. In 2019, he was even quoted in an official press release regarding Bob Weir & Wolf Bros‘ upcoming tour as saying that playing with Don Was and Jay Lane is “more fun than a frog in a glass of milk.“