After spending more than 33 years on TV, David Letterman retired this May. And after months away, he’s not missing it like he thought he would.
In an interview with the Whitefish Review, a Montana publication (Letterman has a ranch there), the former host said that he was surprised by his reaction when Stephen Colbert took over for him on the “Late Show.”
“I thought I would have some trouble, some emotional trouble, or some feeling of displacement, but I realised, hey, that’s not my problem anymore. And I have felt much better,” he said. “It’s something for younger men and women to take on. So I haven’t missed it, the way I thought I might. And I do little things here and there to sort of keep me up and moving.”
Letterman said stepping away from the show has given him a chance to reflect on his career and made him realise that he doesn’t care about television as much anymore.
“You believe that what you are doing is of great importance and that it is affecting mankind wall-to-wall. And then when you get out of it you realise, oh, well, that wasn’t true at all,” he said. “It was just silliness. And when that occurred to me, I felt so much better and I realised, geez, I don’t think I care that much about television anymore. I feel foolish for having been misguided by my own ego for so many years.”
Retiring has also allowed him to spend valuable time with his 12-year-old.
“Because of my son I do things I would have done when I was 12, to show him — look, you can do this,” he said. “You have to grow up to have some wisdom, but I think part of that is letting your kids know that there’s some pretty silly stuff that you can get away with that is going to enhance your life.”
He later added: “I know I’ve grown old. But I don’t think I’ve grown up. I think I have achieved a certain level of wisdom, probably not what it ought to be, but in terms of growing up, no, I still like goofing around.”
And as for the Santa Claus-esque beard Letterman is sporting these days, he said everyone — including his wife and son — hates it, but after shaving every day for 33 years, he was tired of it.
“I’ve kind of developed a real creepy look with it that I’m sort of enjoying,” he said. “And I can tell that people are off-put by it. And the more people implore me to shave, the stronger my resolve is to not shave. So the day that I shave, I’ll call you.
“And I know, it’s not a good-looking beard. But I don’t even care,” he continued. “I just don’t care. And it’s kind of fun — well, I won’t say that it’s fun to walk around irritating people, I think I’ve proved that on TV — but it’s sort of amusing to see the reactions.”
Read Letterman’s complete interview with the Whitefish Review.
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