Archive for Thursday, November 11, 2004

Luck lands De Soto woman in ‘Late Show’ limelight

November 11, 2004

Michele Buffkin had a stroke of Late Night luck last week.

Not only did the lucky De Soto resident land free tickets to the "Late Show with David Letterman," but she was also one of a handful of spectators personally introduced during the comedian's current events section -- all by being in the right place at the right time.

Buffkin and three high school friends began planning months ago for a reunion in New York City. The group knew they wanted to try to get into the "Late Show," but their ahead-of-time plans to get tickets were thwarted.

"They're really hard to get -- we tried to get them online," Buffkin said. "Then we heard it's next to impossible to get tickets."

The group settled instead for seats at "Live with Regis and Kelly," which were more readily available.

Buffkin and her classmates, who traveled from Texas and Oklahoma, met in New York last week.

On Wednesday, the group was strolling around Times Square when a man from CBS approached and offered them tickets to the "Late Show."

The tickets, however, would only be awarded after completing two steps.

First, the man quizzed them with a snippet of "Late Night" trivia. "What business does Rupert own?" he asked Buffkin and her friends.

The women successfully answered "A deli," referring to Rupert Jee's Hello-Deli, an around-the-corner eating spot David Letterman occasionally employs for remote skits during the show.

Succeeding at step one, the women were instructed to return to the Ed Sullivan Theater, where the "Late Show" is taped, between 2 and 3 the next afternoon to pick up their tickets.

After seeing "Regis and Kelly" that morning, Buffkin and her friends found themselves in line Thursday for their first-choice show.

After eye-balling the line of people, another "Late Show" representative singled out Buffkin's bunch.

"She said 'You guys look like an enthusiastic group, would you want to be on David Letterman?'" Buffkin said.

Buffkin was one of 11 attendees picked for the "hot spot" and ended up being one of an even smaller group who Letterman personally approached while taping the show -- which isn't actually taped late at night, Buffkin said. Shows are in fact filmed early, at 4:30 in the afternoon, so the group was able to see themselves on television later that night.

Buffkin's minute in the limelight came during Letterman's current events segment. After walking down the aisle into the audience and chitchatting first with a man from Utah, Letterman turned to Buffkin.

"He said 'You want to play?'" Buffkin said. "And I said sure, so then I stood up."

Buffkin said she was nervous, then the questions came like buckshot.

"He asked, you know, where I was from, what I did, what my occupation was, why I came to New York and who I came to New York with," she said.

Buffkin, a physical therapist for Hillside Village and Aegis Rehabilitation, said she expected Letterman to poke a little fun at Kansas. Sure enough, he said Kansas was pretty -- but flat -- and had to ask what part of the state De Soto was in.

Buffkin lives in De Soto with her husband, Pete, and their three sons. Besides seeing her on television that very night, she said the family got plenty of "Late Show" souvenirs, including a T-shirt, CD and Letterman's signature microwave popcorn, when she returned home.

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