With years of work and thousands of interviews to his credit, you wouldn’t think David Letterman would be afraid to sit down and talk with anyone. In a recent interview with Indianapolis Monthly, Letterman revealed that, in a few instances, he was not totally comfortable with his interviewees.
Bill Clinton, for example, made David Letterman nervous, Letterman said.
“The first time Bill Clinton was on the show, I was a little anxious… 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.”
Letterman’s comments about Clinton are in reference to Clinton’s well-known speaking skills, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Letterman, who during his career became the longest-broadcast late night talk show host, retired earlier this year. The final episode of The Late Show with David Letterman aired on CBS on May 20. Before he jumped to CBS, Letterman hosted Late Night With David Letterman.
David Letterman said that Bill Clinton wasn’t the only interviewee who made him nervous. In the early 2000s, Letterman sat down with singer and songwriter Warren Zevon, who at the time was dying of lung cancer. Zevon eventually died in 2003. Letterman talked to Indianapolis Monthly about that interview, as well.
“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.”
In order to prepare for shows and tough interviews, Letterman said that he would sometimes talk to himself in the shower beforehand.
“I wouldn’t call it a prayer, but I would sometimes have a conversation with myself in the shower before the show.”
In the same interview, Letterman also talked about spending time with his children and grandchildren, his mother, and the Indianapolis 500. Letterman, 68, is an Indianapolis native.
The interview with Indianapolis Monthly is the first that David Letterman has given since he retired earlier this year, and who can blame him? With all of his free time, David Letterman has found things he believes to be preferable to talking to the media, including fishing and his grandson’s little league baseball games.
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