Late-night talk shows have used marijuana to get ratings by asking stars about their cannabis use, talking pot with people on the street or spoofing cannabis culture in sketches. But the most memorable marijuana moment in the history of late-night TV might be David Letterman's 1994 interview with Madonna - who turns 58 today.
The pop singer arrived at The Ed Sullivan Theater on March 31, 1994 as though she was on a mission to touch on every American taboo with the gentleness of a wrecking ball. On top of dropping 14 f-bombs on the shocked studio audience, she puffed a cigar on air, advocated for peeing in the shower as a treatment for athlete's foot, made sexual advances on Dave and even put him on the 'pot seat.'
"Have your ever smoked endo [marijuana]?" Madonna asked.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Letterman said awkwardly.
"You're a goddamned liar," Madonna said with a grin.
She was wrong and right about that. Letterman has since admitted to using marijuana in his youth. In 2015, he told Oprah that he used to smoke pot, but he had to give it up for dietary reasons: eating back-to-back pints of ice cream made him realize he had a munchies problem.
But still, Letterman may have been telling the truth if he meant that he didn't understand Madonna's slang, which came up again in the 1994 interview when the Vogue singer helped Letterman come up with a to-do list. Since then, Madonna has blamed endo for that wild interview. "I think it may have had something to do with the joint I smoked before I came on," Madonna told Letterman in 2009 when recalling her behavior.
And with those words, Madonna ensured herself longevity in cannabis culture - for better or for worse. In 2015, she was listed as the 40th most influential celebrity consumer by the Marijuana Policy Project because of the 1994 interview, which has its own Wikipedia page. However, some think that the appearance was a setback for the legalization movement because Madonna made cannabis consumers seem reckless.
Or maybe activists should steal a page from Madonna's playbook and learn that sometimes causing controversy is the best way to stay relevant over the years. Watch this clip from the 1994 interview and let us know if you think the pop icon shenanigans helped or hindered the legalization movement.
Banner image: Singer Madonna performs onstage at Olympic Stadium, 'Sticky & Sweet Tour' August 18, 2009 in Munich, Germany. (andreynikolaev.com / Shutterstock.com)