© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Tom Ruprecht: Make It 'Til You Fake It

Tom Ruprecht.
Courtesy of the author
Tom Ruprecht.

Want to know what J.D. Salinger was really up to during all those years as a recluse? He wrote racy letters to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dined with Michael Jackson and cut a track with the Foo Fighters. At least, according to this week's Very Important Puzzler, Tom Ruprecht, a former Late Show With David Letterman writer and author of a totally fake oral history of Salinger's life.

Comedy writing has long been a calling for Ruprecht, who explained how he worked his way up from intern to staff writer for Late Show, and the lengths to which he has been willing to go for a comedy sketch. And why a fake oral history? Ruprecht told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg that inventing the details of Salinger's little-known life story sounded much more fun than doing actual research. Plus, he'd already written a fake oral history of former President George W. Bush. (Hear Ruprecht's story about his run-in with the White House over a Late Show joke in the web extra on this page.)

Given his penchant for the quotable, we challenged Ruprecht to a 'Who Said It?' game in which he had to distinguish quotes from Bush, Catcher In The Rye protagonist Holden Caulfield, and David Hasselhoff (from his 2007 autobiography, Don't Hassel the Hoff). By game's end, we all knew who the real Knight Rider was.

In the video below, watch Ruprecht'sLate Show comedy bit that didn't go over well with the White House. (Hear the full story in the web extra.)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.