A game that used to be played on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Johnny would go into the audience and ask them for a title of a song and Doc Severinsen would say "Yes, yes, we know that one" and the play some Standard like "Misty" or "Baby Elephant Walk" and everyone would laugh and the audience member would get a coupon for a free steak dinner at Black Angus or something.

Okay, it doesn't sound particularly funny, and, by itself it wasn't. "Stump the Band" was essentially and exuse to let Johnny Carson interact with the audience (which was funny.)

A variant of this has been played on Conan O'Brian's show. Conan goes into the audience and asks an audience member to name a song.

The first couple of people ask for really common songs, like "Mary had a little lamb" or "Stairway to Heaven". The band is mystified, and Conan gives away a few steak dinners.

Then someone will ask for a Bruce Springsteen song. Again the band is clueless, and Conan yells at them, because Max Weinberg is *in* Bruce Springsteen's backup band! Ha! Grudgingly, Conan gives away more steak dinners.

The next few people start asking for songs that don't exist, like "Conan's a big stupid jerk", or "We Hate Conan". "Oh yeah, we know that one!" proclaims Max, and the band fires off a peppy rendition of "Conan's a big stupid jerk", with lyrics like:

Conan's a big stupid jerk, oh yeah
Conan's a big stupid jerk, uh-huh

Oh God and little baby Jesus, I do so love Conan O'Brian.

Every now and then you'll see "Stump the Band" on the Late Show with David Letterman. Sometimes on Thursday nights you'll hear Dave announce that they've borrowed the old segment from Johnny Carson and can use it as long as they don't break it, and then Dave ventures out into the audience. He'll turn to bandleader Paul Shaffer and ask if he's ready to begin.

But wait! Poor Paul's all confused. He's wearing the Carnac the Magnificent turban and has a sealed envelope to his forehead! He usually gets a Carnac-style joke off before Dave tells him that he's doing the wrong segment, at which time Paul embarassingly removes the turban and the segment begins for real.

Dave asks up to three audience members if they know a song to stump the band with, and people always ask for some stupid little childhood song that nobody else knows because it was a fixture at their little elementary school back in 1964 or so, and the band is always stumped by it. It's OK, though, because everyone who plays "Stump the Band" wins a gift certificate to a local restaurant and a copy of the Live on Letterman music CD. Sometimes cuts of meat are given away as well.

Just like in Johnny's day the focus of the segment isn't on whether or not the band is stumped, but on Dave's interactions with the audience.

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