Over his years on late-night TV, David Letterman has elevated various members of his working staff to fan favorites by giving them airtime and having fun interactions with them.
One of those has been Tony “Inky” Mendez, who, until he was fired last week from CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman,” held Letterman’s cue cards.
Reports the New York Post in a scoop, Mendez, 69, “saw his plum gig vanish last week after losing his cool and assaulting Bill Scheft, a staff writer” for the show.
Later Mendez said, “I know I shouldn’t have put my hands on him. But this has been coming for a long time,” the Post notes.
Mendez had been with Letterman 21 years. Scheft, 57, is also a longtime Letterman loyalist, and has been nominated for 15 Emmys as part of Letterman’s writing staff.
The trouble began on Oct. 8. According to the Post, Mendez, Scheft and Letterman “were rehearsing in Letterman’s backstage digs at the Ed Sullivan Theater when Mendez said he reacted to one of Scheft’s interruptions, telling him, ‘I know what I’m doing. Get off my back.’”
Then Letterman said, “Tony, your sour disposition isn’t helping.”
Mendez then reportedly told Letterman, “You’re the one with the sour disposition, mothf**ker.”
Mendez claims that he and Letterman “often traded off-color barbs,” the story says.
The next morning Mendez attacked Scheft, throwing him against a wall, according to the Post.
While not liking Scheft, Mendez said he never had a problem with Letterman. On Monday, Oct. 13, Mendez was fired.
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