June 10, 2003 01:35 PM

That David Letterman sure is a cut-up.

The CBS “Late Show” host sliced open his finger Sunday night while cutting an onion in his kitchen to prepare Pasta Con Piselle for his girlfriend, Letterman, 56, said on the air Monday night.

“The tip of the finger flipped open like a busted screen door,” Dave described.

The injury was stitched up on the air Monday while Letterman’s heart surgeon, Dr. Wayne Isom of New York Presbyterian Hospital, observed.

Not that this is the first time Letterman has given his doctors the finger. In August 2000, he severely cut his index finger preparing potato salad.

Oddly, Letterman wishes to spend more time in the kitchen — or, at least, anywhere but his CBS studio.

Last Friday, Letterman turned his desk over to guest host Tom Arnold and took the night off. On Monday, Letterman’s spokesman, Steven Rubenstein, told the Associated Press that Dave will decide what other nights he wants off.

“I’ve worked since I was 11 years old,” Letterman said on his show last week. “And I just feel like it’s summer now, I’d like to take a day off.” As an aside to his bandleader Paul Shaffer, Letterman admitted to having “T.A.S.,” or “tired ass syndrome.”

“We were aware he was taking last Friday off,” Chris Ender, CBS entertainment spokesman, tells AP. “We don’t know what the situation is for next Friday. But we don’t expect it to be a prolonged situation.”

Meanwhile, on NBC, Letterman rival Jay Leno, 53, except for scheduled vacations, has missed just one night of work during his entire 11-year “Tonight Show” reign — and that was last month when he voluntarily turned his desk over to “Today” anchor Katie Couric in a ratings stunt.

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