TV Critic Aaron Barhart and some others have commented on the odd way the audience reacts to Letterman’s telling of this. As you’ll see, they are reacting to more how it’s told than what’s being told. Hence the laughter and applause. And Letterman waits until the end of the story to tell the audience the reason he was allegedly being extorted–so for the audience it’s the classic structure of one of Letteman’s funny stories; the build-up to the punch line.
This clip, one of the choices on our Viral Video e-newsletter on Friday, begins where Letterman has given the extortionist a phony check for $2 million. Click here.