David Letterman Says That He Stayed On TV For Too Long: ‘I Should Have Left Like 10 Years Ago’

David Letterman speaks at 'The Comedy Awards.'
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

David Letterman may have had a long and storied career in television, but he thinks that it should have ended far sooner than it actually did.

The former late-night host recently stopped by to chat with fellow comedian Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and it was there that he revealed that he wishes he would have cut his time on TV shorter than he did. To start of his rant, he told Ellen that it was a “mistake” that he stayed on TV as long as he did and Ellen replied that that wasn’t true. However, Letterman went into further detail.

“Yes, it is true,” he quipped back. “And I’ll tell you what happened: It turns out, nobody had the guts to fire me. I should have left like, 10 years ago. You want to make sure you have some energy to direct towards other things. Now you, nothing but energy, are doing other things while you’re on television, so that’s great. I did not.”

He went on to say that during his time on TV, all he cared about was himself and later he came to the realization that he was “looking through the wrong telescope.”

As fans know, the 71-year-old hosted the Late Night with David Letterman for an impressive 33 years from 1982 to 2015. His career started on NBC but later shifted over to CBS, though the show always had the same name.

Now, Letterman is making his way back to the TV industry, this time via streaming giant Netflix. Last year, he began his six-episode Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. Each episode ran for an hour and he was lucky enough to interview big names like Barack Obama and George Clooney.

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He told DeGeneres that he has re-signed on for another season of the series and once again, it will be just six episodes long. The season premiere has not yet gotten a release date from the streaming giant, but he did let fans know that DeGeneres will indeed be a guest on the next season of the series. Though he is over his television career, he seems to have a new-found respect for Netflix.

“You know, it’s great. And the reason it’s great is, first of all, the Netflix people have been very generous to let an old man anywhere near their building.”

David’s full interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs today. Check your local listings for the time and network.