Dear Dirty America


David Letterman To Retire 2015, I May Not Get My Shot On the Late Show

David Letterman To Retire 2015, I May Not Get My Shot On the Late Show
April 03
21:06 2014

I don’t even own a television, but I’ve always had an affinity for David Letterman. Everything about the man is refreshing. His teeth. His personality. His humor. He’s far zanier and off-the-cuff than Jay Leno. His banter with Paul feels genuine and unscripted. If Letterman retires in 2015, as he’s recently said he will, an era of late night television will officially end, and I’ll miss my shot to be on the Late Show as I’d always imagined.

My spiritualist friends tell me if I think hard enough about something, it’ll manifest in the physical realm. So I tried twice, thinking that if I wrote a couple Late Show with David Letterman scripts imagining myself being interviewed by Dave, maybe the stars and planets would align, and the molecules and energy on earth would shift under the celestial inclination, and I’d land on the show.

My first Letterman appearance was on December 10, 2010, to promote my novel Parade of Bums. I wrote the script in February of that year, thinking that would give me enough time to do something drastic and spectacular to get on the show. Four years later, I’m still working at it! As time slipped by, I thought I should hedge my bets and write one for the next year, so I imagined I was back on the show on April 4th, 2011 to talk about a local scandal I’d caused.

I’m still grappling with the idea that I’ve somehow missed the window. TV Letterman seemed immortal. Maybe as a child growing up with that dry laugh poking into my family’s living room every late evening, I started to feel like he was part of the family.

Some of the best Letterman moments out there, for me, would be every time he interviewed a jacked-up Hunter S Thompson, who could hardly stay in his seat. “You’re making me nervous,” David said to the famed Gonzo journalist in 1988, as he tugged and pulled on a bandage wrapped around his hand. “Well, you’re calming me down,” Hunter mumbled back.

I’m not a TV buff, nor am I a ‘late night’ watcher, so this is not meant to be a list for hardcore TV heads. Less tube in one’s life is more, in my opinion, But another great example of the slightly unhinged David Letterman at work is when he handles goofballs like the Kardashian sisters.

“I just wonder if you are getting good advice,” he says to Courtney and Kim. He picks them apart as delicately as a precocious child using his teeth to eat a spool of cotton candy without getting his face or fingers sticky.

And then there’s the stand out interview with the reticent, bearded Joaquin Phoenix, where Dave closes by saying, “And Joaquin, I’m sorry you couldn’t be here tonight.” It turned out to be an elaborate joke, unknown to Letterman, that turned into the mockumentary called I’m Still Here.

Letterman is a master at cutting down people who think too highly of themselves, like the way he offended Paris Hilton in 2007. It’s hard not to enjoy the slightly sarcastic way he calls her a “woman of many talents”. Hilton came on the show to talk about her perfume, but Dave asks her about the time she spent in jail, and belabors her for every detail. Hilton smiles and laughs a little, but the tension is palpable.

Paris says she didn’t come on the show to talk about jail. She’d like to discuss her new movie, her new perfume, and her clothing line. But, what is interesting about yet another privileged girl from a billionaire family picking out a scent and a bottle and calling it her line of perfume? Dave refuses to gratify her until the very end, when he lets her talk about her movie and her perfume.

I still won’t watch Letterman regularly, even though I know his days are limited. But it’ll be a slightly less interesting world knowing his unhinged character is not out there doing what he’s doing. I imagine Letterman’s remaining guest slots are filled up for the rest of the year and into 2015. There are even rumors Amy Winehouse’s hologram will stop by for a Late Show chat on her upcoming world tour.

I also don’t imagine I have a butterfly’s chance in hell of getting on. Yet, with my teeth ground together, I’ll continue to manifest, right down to the final hours.

Let me know your favorite Letterman moments in the comments section below. I’m sure there are many to be enjoyed.

[Late Show photo by  Lambert-Rizal]

Related Articles


  1. Q
    Q April 03, 22:40

    I always liked when Norm Macdonald went on Letterman the day he was fired from SNL. Dave ripped on NBC so hard. It was great.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Joanna
    Joanna April 03, 22:55

    Andy Kaufman 1982: kaufman-lawler

    Reply to this comment
    • DDA
      DDA Author April 04, 11:10

      I’d never seen this one! Kaufman really was spectacular. Another great Letterman moment.

      Reply to this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply

Brave Media


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Dear Dirty America Copyright

© Dear Dirty America, 2011-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dear Dirty America with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.