SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — For two weeks now, we’ve been retracing David Letterman’s steps here in the Bay Area, particularly his week’s worth of shows at the Palace of Fine Arts in 1996.
One character in particular leaves many wondering, “what ever happened to Manny the Hippie?” — the young man Dave made a star.
It took two months, but KPIX reporter Mike Sugerman found him.
This particular long strange trip started 18 years ago when Letterman bumped into a random kid on Haight Street.
In a flash, the young man (born Micah Papp) became “Manny the Hippie,” who used a quick van ride through San Francisco to spread hippie vernacular around the world.
The masses were educated on the difference between “dank” and “schwag” with examples.
“Jimmy Carter?” Letterman asked, to which Manny responded “dank.”
But Ronald Reagan? “Schwag.”
Manny’s wild ride with Letterman didn’t end in that van.
He actually became a “Late Show” fixture on top ten lists on top of jamming with rock stars and dishing out movie reviews with his signature “dank” and “schwag” rating system.
Then faster than you can roll a joint, Manny was drawing crowds and signing autographs.
When Letterman asked how much longer he thinks he’ll be a hippie, and he gleefully responded, “rest of my life.”
Now 18 years later, Manny is still getting recognized on Haight Street.
“It’s kind of ridiculous,” he told Sugerman, who featured him for his very first story on KPIX. “I’ll never live this one down.”
He spends most of his time these days doubling as “Manny the Mechanic,” restoring VW buses and living on the road.
He still has the newspaper clippings that cover his rise to fame, as well as a highly-publicized stay in an Ohio jail for selling marijuana to an undercover police officer.
“‘Oh, he has some pot, oh God, put him in prison for pot,'” Manny said, talking about his criminal past. “I feel that like, part of that whole fiasco helped marijuana legalization.”
So in case you were wondering, Manny hasn’t changed much since 1996.
And we think that’s pretty dank.