David Letterman jokes about militant death threat

Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:24am EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Late-night American TV comedian David Letterman shrugged off a death threat made against him by a Muslim militant, joking on his show that his audience could "shield" him.

Last week, the U.S.-based SITE intelligence monitoring group said a death threat against Letterman was posted on a website used by militants.

The militant who made the threat, and was apparently angered by a joke Letterman made about the death of a leading member of al Qaeda killed in an air strike in Pakistan, called on Muslims in the United States to "cut the tongue" of the comedian and "shut it forever."

While taping an episode of CBS network's "Late Show with David Letterman" on Monday, the comedian addressed the threat during his opening monologue.

"Tonight, you people are more, to me, honestly, more than an audience ... you're more like a human shield," Letterman joked in front of audience members at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York where the show is produced.

"I'm so sorry, I'm a little late coming out. Backstage, I was talking to the guy from CBS. We were going through the CBS life insurance policy to see if I was covered for jihad," Letterman said.

Letterman went on to jokingly suggest the threat really originated from late night rival Jay Leno.

Letterman's comedic take on the death threat will air on the "Late Show" on Monday night.

An FBI spokesman said last week that the agency was looking into the militant threat against Letterman.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Peter Bohan)

 
<p>Late night television host David Letterman waves to the crowd as he accepts The Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence at "The Comedy Awards" in New York City March 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi</p>