When Stephen Colbert takes over as host of the Late Show, there will probably be a few staff changes, and it looks like Colbert will need to a hire a new guy to hold up giant pieces of cardboard with jokes written on them, after news broke that David Letterman’s long-time ‘cue card boy’ Tony Mendez has been fired over the weekend. According to Deadline, Mendez got into a physical altercation with fellow Letterman staffer Bill Scheft. “Mendez, 69, who had been with Letterman for 21 years, got into a verbal altercation with Scheft and Letterman over changes in cue cards, went home overnight and stewed about perceived slights from Scheft over a long period. When Mendez came back the next day, he grabbed Scheft by his shirt and pushed him against a wall … A representative for Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, which produces The Late Show, said the company cannot comment on a confidential personnel matter. Cameras frequently cut to Mendez during the show’s broadcasts as he handled Letterman’s cue cards. Mendez previously handled cue cards for Saturday Night Live and The Hollywood Palace.”
Cinema Blend is reporting Mendez’ side of the story. “According to Mendez himself, he had a bad day in the office earlier this month, getting hot and bothered when Scheft kept interrupting him during his regular duties. He even traded barbs with Letterman, who told him to cool off. But he didn’t cool off. Instead, he became even more agitated about the incident and shoved Scheft into the wall the following day to give him a piece of his mind.” This is what Mendez told the New York Post: “I just grabbed him by the shirt. He was very surprised. He didn’t say a word. He was cowering, his eyes were real big, he probably peed a little bit on his pants… I’m the first one to say I should have never put my hands on him, but I never hit him. I just grabbed him and got my face in his face.” Mendez was often used in segments by Letterman, and has his own behind the scenes show on Letterman’s website. He need not feel so bad, however, about being let go. “The show will cover his salary and benefits through Letterman’s departure,” reports Deadline.