Back from two weeks' vacation and making his first TV appearance since a threat against his life was posted on a jihadist website, the "Late Show" host played it all for laughs during Monday's monologue.

Letterman began by thanking his studio audience for being there.

"Tonight," he said, "you people are more, to me, honestly, than an audience you're more like a human shield."

Then he apologized for having been tardy coming out onstage.

"Backstage, I was talking to the guy from CBS," he explained. "We were going through the CBS life insurance policy to see if I was covered for jihad."

Until Letterman delivered his jokes, his situation seemed no laughing matter.

Last week, a frequent contributor to a jihadist website posted the threat against Letterman. He urged Muslim followers to "cut the tongue" of the late-night host because of a joke and gesture the comic had made about al-Qaida leaders on a show that aired in June.
More here: Letterman back at work after website death threat - CBS News


Just to show that he wasn't taking it too seriously, Letterman continued the theme into his nightly Top 10 list -- the "Top 10 thoughts that went through my mind after hearing about the threat."

10. Someone wants to silence me? Get in line.
9. Nothing says summer fun like a death threat.
8. Why is the staff in such a good mood?
7. Save me, Oprah.
6. Should I wear my Kevlar hairpiece?
5. And here I thought nobody watched the show.
4. How can someone be so angry at a time when Kim Kardashian is so happy?
3. Some people get Emmy nominations; some people get death threats.
2. This seems like (Jay) Leno's handiwork.
1. Oh my God! They canceled the George Lopez Show
More here: Letterman jokes about jihadist website death threat - CNN.com