Stupid Pet Tricks are an institution on David Letterman's The Late Show on CBS. Letterman has been doing this segment for 20 years, and the key to get on the show is to have a dog or cat who does "something we've never seen before!" says Brian Teta, the Stupid Pet Tricks Coordinator. "But with this criteria, finding that new pet trick becomes more challenging each year," he adds.
To find the new star of the segment, Brian Teta, has an email account where pet owners can write to describe this special trick their pet can perform. He also holds 25 to 30 live Stupid Pet Tricks auditions per year around the country. Once, he even auditioned dogs right there at the stadium when the Major League Baseball parks held "Dog Days" events.
When asked again what the Late Show is exactly looking for, Teta told us: "Given the unexpectedness of my other segments and my own humor, your pet's trick needs to be something surprising, unusual, or amazing." The trick doesn't necessarily have to be stupid though, it should even be rather smart. What works best is a basic dog trick, but taken to the next level. "Any dog can fetch, but if your dog can fetch a tissue when you sneeze, then you might be worthy of Stupid Pet Tricks," explains Teta.
Cats are less present than dogs on the show, probably they are a lot more difficult to train than dogs,. Only Grumble landed the segment in 1994 for his ability to say "yum yum" while eating. However felines are encouraged to audition and they actually have a better shot at getting on the show according to Teta. "Cat tricks are far more unusual than dog tricks," he says, "if a cat were to catch a ball in her mouth, for example, she may be considered for Stupid Pet Tricks!"
Every four to five months, Teta takes his ten favorite videos to Letterman's executive producers and three to four pets are selected. They are then flown to New York and have one rehearsal before the actual taping. "David Letterman doesn't meet the parents or their pets to keep thing spontaneous," Teta tells us. "He doesn't even know the trick, until the moment the pet steps out on stage!"
Most of the pets who appear on this segment don't launch into a show biz career but Buddy, a Golden Retriever who shot hoops on the show, got a role in the film Air Bud. And Odie, the Pug who can swoon, "I love you" became an Internet superstar. On the other hand, some pets are already renowned before they get on Stupid Pet Tricks. Jesse, the most well trained Jack Russell of all time, had already a tremendous amount of views on YouTube when he appeared on the late show set!
"The best way to audition is to email us a description of your pet's trick at firstname.lastname@example.org," says Teta. "If we like it and it's interesting enough, you will be asked to send a video of the trick."
To your cameras then!
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