Letterman Is Back, Better Than Before

I’ve always been a David Letterman fan — from his early days in comedy — to his more mature interviewing of celebrities and politicians in the later years of his show. I was pleasantly surprised several months ago when I learn he was returning with a new talk show.

The series, which is scheduled to release a show a month, is hosted by Netflix. The first episode aired on Jan. 12 and Letterman’s first guest was former president Barack Obama. The roughly hour long interview also included clips from the March on Selma and segments with Civil Rights leader, and current Congressman, John Lewis.

Letterman, who has never shied from his liberal viewpoints, seems to be leading the interview into the realm of how did we get here — a nonverbal nod to the political mayhem unleashed by Trump. Letterman addresses Trump’s Twitter attack on Lewis who, unlike Trump, has earned a place in U.S. history for his work for the advancement of Civil Rights.

During the segment with Lewis, a vintage clip of the original march is shown, and several things are striking about the footage. The viewer is first faced the force and violence used by police officers against the marchers, despite the reality the marchers were not breaking any laws. But, just as jarring is the celebratory cheers from white onlookers that can be heard as the officers begin their assault.

Most of the segment though deals with Obama, and Obama comes across as relaxed, charming and still intimately interested in the future of his country. The Obama interview includes some interesting vignettes in Obama’s post-presidency life as well as his childhood. After sitting and talking with Letterman for an hour, Obama, who was often aloof while in office, seems more down to earth. By the end of the interview, their is a feeling that a friendship exists between the two men.

My Rating 5 out of 5. I’ve always admired Letterman’s ability to interview. (My favorite interview is when he called Bill O’Reilly a goon on live TV). In this first episode, Letterman seems genuinely concerned about the direction of his country, and in one poignant moment, admits his lack of participation during the Selma March era.

George Clooney is the scheduled for the second episode.

Afterthought

  • Another great Obama interview is with Jerry Seinfeld on the Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
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Categories: American History, Americans Who Got It Right, My America

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