Madonna is celebrating her 53rd birthday today. But rather than coo about how great she looks or wax philosophical about how her image has changed multiple times over the years (or dig through the Post’s Madonna archives, which BlogPost has done), I have chosen to commemorate this special occasion by posting my very favorite Madonna interview of all time.

It took place on March 31, 1994, when Madonna sat down across the desk from David Letterman on his “Late Show” and, among other things, made disparaging comments about Charles Barkley, encouraged Letterman to sniff a pair of her underwear that she had brought him as a gift, smoked a cigar, dropped multiple f- and s-bombs (all of which were bleeped) and refused to leave the set for 21 straight minutes.

She was roundly criticized for the interview at the time. (Even the studio audience booed her.) But looking back at it now, this is the Madonna that I miss a little — the one who was feisty and foul-mouthed and tended to say whatever popped into her head, even if it was rude and made her seem like kind of a jerk. She wasn’t quite likeable, per se, but she certainly made it impossible to look away.

Oh, and this is the Letterman I miss, too — spry, energetic and perfectly willing to challenge Madonna at every turn. The footage is a bit blurry, but 17 years later, it’s still worth watching. Happy birthday, Madonna!