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Letterman jokes about death threat on first day back to work

The Late Show host returned to the show following a two-week vacation, during which a man named Umar al-Basrawi urged fellow Muslims to ""cut the tongue of this lowly Jew"" after Letterman poked fun at accused terrorist leader Ilyas Kashmiri, who was killed during a U.S. airstrike in Pakistan in June (11).

The threat against the TV personality, who is not Jewish, was made on Shumukh-al-Islam - a popular Internet destination for radical Muslims - but the serious matter didn't cause concern for Letterman, who cracked jokes about the incident.

During his monologue, he said, ""I'm so sorry, I'm a little late coming out. Backstage I was talking to the guy from CBS (TV network). We were going through the CBS life-insurance policy to see if I was covered for jihad... We have great audiences night in and night out, but tonight especially, it means a lot to me. Tonight... you're more like a human shield.""

Letterman also devoted his nightly Top Ten list to al-Basrawi, entitling the mini-segment, Thoughts That Went Through My Mind After Hearing About The Threat, in which he made various remarks, such as, ""Someone wants to silence me? Get in Line"" and ""Why is the staff in such a good mood?"".

However, while the funnyman shelled out the comments, security at Letterman's beloved Ed Sullivan Theater in New York were on high alert.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told the New York Post, ""NYPD (New York Police Department) Intelligence Division did a security assessment that resulted in increased security.""