David Letterman Leaving His Mark On Netflix With New Show

By Lawrence Lease on January 16, 2018

In 2015, David Letterman, late night television icon, said his final goodbye as host of “The Late Show.” Letterman spent three decades as the CBS late-night show host before letting Stephen Colbert take over while Letterman enjoyed his newfound free time to do anything, including growing a massive beard. Then Netflix came knocking on his door.

David Letterman

By: Pixabay.com

David Letterman made a deal with Netflix, agreeing to come out of retirement to host another talk show. What could Letterman do outside the limitations of network television that he hadn’t already done, and would a David Letterman series still seem relevant given that the late-night world has moved on?

The premiere episode of his show, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman,” has now been released on Netflix and it features President Barack Obama. This show shows a whole new side of Letterman than what has been seen by his late-night followers. He delivers an honest conversation with his guest and provides a time of emotional introspection. “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman” breaks from the traditional format of other Netflix original series as they will release one-hour episodes between now and June 2018.

Letterman’s guest lineup includes George Clooney, Jay-Z, Tina Fey, Howard Stern, and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. The show also differs from his original late-night show, as there is no live band or host desk. It’s just a simple set consisting of a pair of chairs and deep conversation, with the inserting of on-location segments. In his first episode, Letterman took a walk with Congressman John Lewis across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where in 1965, Lewis was beaten by police officers for taking part in a civil rights march.

David Letterman is able to keep the conversation going and fresh, as politicians usually rely on talking points or repetitive anecdotes. This is what has made Letterman successful over his 33 years of experience. He’s become a master interviewer. This style of show allows Letterman to tackle topics and issues in a more in-depth and thoughtful perspective. The main part of his conversation with President Obama was about his adjustment to normal life and his reflections on our political history.

Aside from the expected self-deprecating jokes, there’s a sense of true self-reflection that runs through “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.” Perhaps it’s the subject matter of the Obama episode, or the interview with Lewis, but there’s a subtle through-line that’s hinted at several times: the idea that after Letterman took time off to travel and spend time with his family, he is now reassessing what he has accomplished in his life. Letterman ends up showing some true emotions as he speaks with Obama about what has become known as Bloody Sunday.

“Mr. President, this is what I am struggling with at this point in my life. I have been nothing but lucky,” he says in the show’s final moments. A month after Lewis faced down the incident now known as Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Letterman explains, he and his friends were trying to get on a cruise ship so they could purchase alcohol without worrying about the local age limit. “Why wasn’t I in Alabama?” he asks, seemingly on the verge of tears. “Why was I not aware? I have been nothing but lucky.”

This will be a show that can’t just be explained with short YouTube clips. It’s a program that should be viewed full on. It’s a meaningful show, which also proves that David Letterman is still relevant and has something to say.

Born and raised in Wasilla, Alaska. I am citizen journalist and looking to find a official paying journalism job somewhere in the country. I enjoy watching TV, reading books and traveling.

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