THE TONIGHT SHOW (TV program - NBC) with host Jay Leno September 17, 1999
DHP was wearing khakis and a hunter green polo shirt with a black blazer.
Jay Leno: My first guest did a terrific job as co-host of this year's Emmy Awards. He also picked up his third trophy for his work on the hit show... boy, he's a good comic. He's probably one of the best comedic actors of our generation or any generation. His show has its season premiere of "Frasier" on Thursday, September 23. Please welcome David Hyde Pierce.
[The band plays "Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs" as DHP walks out. He smiles and waves to the crowd and mouths "I'm so sorry" to the band leader Kevin Eubanks who had a surprise date fixed for him by Jay earlier that night. Kevin mouths back "I know man" with a funny expression on his face as he laughs and shakes his head. DHP goes on to do a little dance to the music as he heads towards his seat, hugs Jay, waves to the crowd, then continues to do his dance.]
JL: (STARING AT DHP DO HIS LITTLE DANCE STEPS) Very good!
David Hyde Pierce: (MOUTHS THANKS TO JL THEN FINALLY TAKES A SEAT)
JL: I must say, before I saw you at the Emmys, I always thought of you as a bit of a stick-in-the-mud...
DHP: (PICKS UP HIS CUP TO TAKE A DRINK BUT SORT OF PAUSES AT HEARING JL's COMMENT)
JL: ...but you're quite agile. Quite...
DHP: Thank you so much.
JL: Yes, yes.
DHP: I went from like "the greatest comedian of our generation" to "a stick-in-the-mud."
JL: (LAUGHS) That's right. No, I always thought of you as perhaps a bit stiff and wooden, well, more Gore-like.
DHP: Well... (LAUGHS)
JL: But you move with the grace of a gazelle. Like a gazelle you leap...
DHP: Yes well, I'm a little more Tipper than you realize, yeah. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
JL: A little more Tipper than you realize. (LAUGHS) Now is that fun? It's nerve-racking, isn't it?
DHP: It is...
JL: It's the worst job in show business.
DHP: It can be. It's a tricky audience, the Emmys, because... I worked with Bruce Vilanch, one of the great writers that we've got in the business. He wrote the Emmys and he warned us ahead of time... Jenna Elfman and I hosted... that the audience is tricky because going into it, their minds are on something else. They're not there to watch you, they're there thinking am I going to win. And then as the evening goes on, the percentage of people who have not won in the audience, starts growing so by the end it's like a lot of really surly people saying, "Yeah, make me laugh."
JL: No, it's true cause they're all winners when you first walk out.
JL: Yeah, yeah.
DHP: Potentially, then not everyone can. But actually, this year it went pretty well. We had a good time.
JL: Now, did you enjoy your dance numbers with Jenna Elfman? Was it fun?
DHP: Yes. (CHUCKLES) Well, we did this parody of the interpretive dance numbers that they do like at the Oscars and everything that just always tank. (JL AND AUDIENCE LAUGH) And we went out in purple leotards...
DHP: ...which was, I thought, kind of a ballsy thing to do. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
JL: And do not leave much to the imagination since you brought it up.
DHP: No, and it's especially ballsy in profile. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) But I also thought, "Look, I'm out there with Jenna Elfman in a leotard. No one's gonna be looking at me." But in fact, I got very nice letters from people in prison.
JL: Really. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS AND CLAPS)
DHP: So um...
JL: And you brought your family, I noticed. You brought a lot of your family.
DHP: A lot of family. I had...
JL: You brought a lot cause everywhere I bumped "we're with David's people."
JL: I kept hearing "David's people."
DHP: I know. It was like, I don't know, it was a huge number of my family came out cause I was hosting and everything.
DHP: When the limo arrived, it was like a clown car. (JL AND AUDIENCE LAUGH) People just kept coming out and coming out and coming out. But uh... they all stayed with me at my house. It was like...
JL: No, come on, how many people in your house?
DHP: Fifteen. Fifteen people, I think, at the house.
JL: Fifteen people in your house?
DHP: Yep, yep. We have room for like five. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
DHP: Yeah, so... But it was fun. It was great.
JL: Did you stack them.
JL: So how was your summer? Did you have a good time? Was it...
DHP: I had a really good time because I shot a movie where I had an affair, in the movie, with Claudia Shiffer.
JL: Oh, that's nice work.
DHP: That was, that was cool.
JL: And you were paid for this as well?
DHP: I was paid for that, yes. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) I uh... my job was to fondle her. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
JL: Oh, I see.
DHP: (LOOKS STRAIGHT AT THE AUDIENCE) So I did. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS AND CLAPS)
JL: How does one prepare for that?
DHP: It takes a lot, a lot of just patience to wait to get to the scene...
JL: Do you practice on yourself first and then move in? I mean, how does that work?
DHP: (LAUGHS) I don't think that's any of your business. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS AND CLAPS) But then I find out, of course after I've done this, that Claudia Schiffer is married to the magician, David Copperfield.
JL: Well, no. They're not married, I think they are engaged.
DHP: Oh, they're engaged?
JL: Well, they weren't...
DHP: Well, they're together. They're an unit and I just now am afraid that he's gonna...
JL: They're an item.
DHP: Yeah, I'm worried that he's gonna make my genitals disappear or something. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
JL: You don't want that.
DHP: No, no. Although, now that I'm out of the tights, I guess it doesn't exactly matter as much. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
JL: Yes, it doesn't matter as much.
DHP: Just worried about that before the tights.
JL: And now you're doing a musical. Now what is this.
DHP: I am. I'm a busy man. I'm doing this musical, "The Boys From Syracuse" which is... we're doing here as part of the Reprise! series in L.A. It's a great, great show. It's an old musical. It was done in the thirties and... but there's a lot of, like you know, famous songs that everybody knows in it.
DHP: Oh, uh... "Don't Touch That, You Don't Know Where It's Been" (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) and uh, "Does This Look Infected." (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
JL: "Does This Look Infected"?
DHP: I think that was a hit from the play.
JL: George M. Cohen, I believe.
DHP: That's right. "Alopecia."
DHP: (SINGS ALONG TO TUNE OF "OKLAHOMA") "Alopecia where the hair is falling from my brain," yeah. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) And uh...
JL: Is your voice good?
DHP: No, I haven't done a musical since junior high school. I actually started taking voice lessons. There's a great coach in town, Calvin Rensberg, who's amazing and I've worked a lot with... well not, I haven't worked a lot with him but we had a lesson and it was... (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
JL: A lesson?
DHP: Part of a lesson, actually he stopped me midway and he had tears in his eyes and he said he had never heard anything like that in his life. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) And uh... he's now quit teaching. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
DHP: Yep. He joined a monastery where people are not allowed to talk. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
JL: So you were an inspiration, in other words. OK
DHP: Yes, I think so. Yeah.
JL: Where do you find time? I mean, I know that doing these shows is an all day thing. Where do you find the time to do "Frasier" and the play?
DHP: Oh, my God, "Frasier"! (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) I knew I was forgetting something. No, we did... we've been... we're in production with "Frasier" right now. We've been shooting episodes cause we open...
JL: So right after work you run over and do the play?
DHP: Yeah. Or vice versa or something. I'm always doing something. But we... "Frasier" opens... does it open? I don't know, it comes on...
JL: Comes on.
DHP: ...next week, yes. So we're...
JL: Next Tuesday.
DHP: Next THURSDAY! (AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
JL: Oh, Thursday. Thursday at 9 o'clock.
DHP: It was on Tuesday nights. That was 1992. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS AND CLAPS)
JL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. My staff used to work for the CIA.
JL: It's Thursday. Thursday at 9 o'clock.
DHP: That's right. In syndication, it's on every night though so we're alright.
JL: Alright, now we have a clip. Is this from the opening?
DHP: Oh, yeah. This is from the opening show which I don't know if this needs setting up or not. We'll find that out afterwards.
JL: It's "Frasier"!
DHP: Of course there's no set up, we're all sick of it!
JL: It's futile. It's "Frasier" and it looks like you're camping.
DHP: Oh, yeah, here he comes.
JL: On holiday, vacation.
[clip from "Momma Mia"]
Frasier: Nice going, Niles!
Frasier's girlfriend: What happened?
F: Niles dropped a huge log right onto my hand when he was startled by a moth!
Niles: It was not a moth, it was a bat. I could tell from that eerie high pitched scream.
F: That was you! You know, frankly, I wish you'd start seeing someone about this bug phobia of yours.
N: It is not a phobia, I have a healthy fear of our natural predators. It's us against them and frankly, I'm starting to wonder just whose side you're on.
(AUDIENCE CLAPS AND CHEERS)
JL: Oh, just a great show... well written, well-acted.
DHP: It has Rita Wilson who's playing Frasier's girlfriend in that.
JL: Yes, brilliant and beautiful. Now, now, you have an event coming up I know that's very important.
DHP: I do, yeah. The Alzheimer's Association which I'm a chairperson of. I lost some family members to Alzheimer's. They're all across the country... they're having their Memory Walk, which is their biggest fund-raiser. Here in L.A. it's on October 2 and I just wanted to plug that because it's a really important cause to me and unfortunately, it's going to be an important cause for all of us sooner or later so I'm trying to raise awareness and raise money to find a cure.
JL: It's a good cause.
JL: David, thank you very much. Be right back with Mariska Hagertay.