Archived Story

Blue Earth man gets his 15 minutes of fame on Letterman

Published 9:39am Friday, August 17, 2012

A Blue Earth man who works in Albert Lea ended up on “Late Night with David Letterman” on Monday night during a visit to the Big Apple.

Steve Bakken, an ink clerk at Minnesota Corrugated Box, was shown twice on national television Monday night giving thumbs up from the show’s studio audience. First, when Letterman said, “I’m David Letterman, and I’m coming to you from Blue Earth, Minnesota,” and again when Letterman said, “My wife is from Blue Earth, too.”

“A CBS page told me that for the camera to go to a member of the audience twice is very rare,” Bakken said.

Bakken’s sister is an accountant who resides in South Dakota, and she took Bakken to New York and Boston for his 60th birthday. His mother and nephew were on the trip, too. In New York, they bought tickets to see the taping of a “Late Night” episode.

About 60 hopefuls were not able to get in. Bakken said CBS security is tighter than an airport, and the network even has bomb-sniffing dogs.

The show tapes at 4:30 p.m., and before the taping Letterman came out to the audience and offered to answer questions.

Bakken, 60, raised his hand and Letterman called on him but first asked where he was from. Letterman asked why is the city called Blue Earth. Bakken began to explain the copper tint to the soil along the Blue Earth River, told about the Jolly Green Giant statue and even invited the talk show host to bring his show there. Letterman asked why he lives there, and Bakken said that his wife lives there.

Letterman put on his jacket, and when the taping began, Letterman mentioned Blue Earth on the air.

Guests on the show that evening were comedian Adam Samberg, Olympian Ashton Eaton and singer Glen Hansard.

Bakken, who is married and has three children, returned to his hotel, where a man in the lobby approached him and said, “You bumped me.”

Apparently, the man was upset. He was supposed to stand on two fingers briefly during Letterman’s opening segment, but because the host spent time on Blue Earth he never went to the finger stand.

Bakken shrugged it off.

“It was one of those deals that was pure dumb luck, where I was in the right place at the right time,” he said.

Bakken and relatives also visited Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the site where John Lennon was assassinated, Rockefeller Center, the United Nations, Ground Zero of the 9/11 attacks and the Brooklyn Bridge. They also saw singer Nicki Minaj and members of NBC’s “The Today Show.”

Bakken has been an ink clerk at MCB for eight years.