David Letterman may not be done just yet with this comedy business: He of the ample beard and emeritus late night talk TV legend, confirmed in an interview with New York magazine that he had considered a three-night gig at the Beacon Theatre, but ultimately decided against it because of ticket prices.
He also confirmed that he had received -- and rejected -- offers to appear on a lot of shows, including “Veep,” since retiring from “Late Show” in 2015.
Of the proposed Beacon shows, he told the magazine, “We were going to re-create the annual Late Show Christmas special for like three days. Then people said, “The ticket prices are going to be so and so” and I said, “Oh ... no. That’s larceny. We can’t do that.” We couldn’t ask people to pay that kind of money to come see something that they got for free on television for so many years.”
An ardent fan of “Veep,” he told producers there, “’Here’s what would happen: I’m going to do your show. I’m going to worry about it, I’m going to get sick to my stomach, and I’m going to ruin it. I can’t do that to you.’”
The interview with New York staff writer David Marchese -- posted online Monday morning -- is of the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink variety, and it’s clear Letterman came to talk, or at least scratch the itch that currently needs scratching (most notably President Donald Trump; Dave’s not a fan).
What’s unusual about the encounter is the degree of personal detail – about his current life, state of mind, and state of being. Not quite the hermit in sackcloth and ashes some fans expected him to become, Letterman confirmed that “I was just in California with some people. It was business related. So I do a lot of that, and I do a lot of pro bono work, as they say in the legal industry. But mostly I sit on the edge of the bed and stare at the floor.”
Here are just a few quick outtakes:
•On what he’s proudest of: “... I was able to give jobs to people. That’s an accomplishment.”
•On who he still sees from “Late Show:” “Paul Shaffer and I get together about once a month and have dinner, and nothing about the show ever comes up. Memory lane is closed for repairs.”
•On one of the worst things about the blackmail scandal (a former CBS News employee attempted to extort money by threatening to tell of a range of affairs Letterman had conducted): “(His son) Harry’s heard every God-dang thing I didn’t want him to hear. The universe of worries and anxieties that I possess with regard to my son’s welfare seems to be infinite. Now, if I had a daughter, then I would have ill treatment from men to add to that universe of worries and anxieties.”
•On how he dealt with the anxiety that became part of his trademark: “A friend of mine, my doctor, said, ‘You know, you don’t need to kill yourself. It’s just TV.’ Then he convinced me to try one of these selective-serotonin-reuptake inhibitors. I resisted it. I thought, No, just put me in a state hospital. But I did try it, and suddenly that wiring had less power than it used to. I still have vestiges of it -- I think that’s about where you want to be. You don’t want to be putting your fist through a wall, but I can’t imagine going through life not questioning my own worthiness.”