If you can believe it, it’s been nearly a month since David Letterman’s final “Late Show.” What’s he been up to in the early days of retirement? Dave gave an interview to an old buddy at Indianapolis Monthly, talking about how it’s been tough to get back to doing things for himself again — like answering his own phones. (He was serious.) Dave was also asked about the many guests in his long late-night career, specifically whether he prayed before interviewing someone he was particularly anxious about hosting.
Here’s Dave’s answer:
I wouldn’t call it a prayer, but I would sometimes have a conversation with myself in the shower before the show. Warren Zevon was on years ago, and we all knew he was dying. I was at a loss because I couldn’t think of an entry point for a conversation with a dying man on a television show that’s supposed to be silly. “How are you doing? You look great!” doesn’t exactly work. I was really dissatisfied with my part of that conversation. I was ill-equipped to connect with a friend who was going through something like that. And the first time Bill Clinton was on the show, I was a little anxious for totally different reasons. Of course, what I learned about Bill was that you don’t even need to be in the studio for that interview. He’ll take care of it.”
That definitely seems true about President Clinton. Warren Zevon was on Dave’s show several times, and he was the sole focus of the show on October 30, 2002, before the singer died from a form of lung cancer in September 2003. Here’s a portion of that episode:
The New York Times did a whole story on that “Late Show” hour, during which Dave asked Warren if his condition taught him anything about life and death. Warren answered, “How much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.” After the show, Dave commented to the NY Times on what his guest had said. ”Here’s a guy looking right down the barrel of the gun. And if a guy wanted to indulge himself in great hyperbole in that circumstance, who wouldn’t forgive him? But that was perfect, the simplicity of that. If this guy is not a poet, who is?”
Beautiful. Bill Clinton, obviously still with us, returned as one of Dave’s final guests before he made his exit. They’re buddies now, and maybe they’ll end up golfing together in their retirement.
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