David Letterman, who is retiring from his “Late Show” chair May 20, admits in a new interview with The New York Times‘ Dave Itzkoff that he has some trepidation about parting ways with late-night TV.
“I’m awash in melancholia,” Letterman says in the interview, adding: “I’ll miss it, desperately. One of two things: There will be reasonable, adult acceptance of transition. Or I will turn to a life of crime.”
The 68-year-old Letterman has been in late-night television for close to half of his life, 33 years.
Writes Itzkoff: “Late-night television will feel the loss of Mr. Letterman, one of its most innovative and unpredictable broadcasters, who in 1982 took a sleepy NBC time slot following Carson’s ‘Tonight’ show and transformed it into a ceaseless engine for Top 10 Lists, Stupid Pet Tricks and a decade’s worth of pioneering comedy bits.”
Trepidation aside, Letterman hints that he’s comfortable with his decision. “I got nothing to worry about,” he tells Itzkoff. “I know I can’t do what Jimmy Fallon’s doing. I know I can’t do what Jimmy Kimmel is doing. There’s nothing left to be worried about. It’s all over, Dad, you’re going to be just fine. You’re going to a new place. They’ll be very nice to you, Dad. You’ll make a lot of friends.”
Asked about CBS’s choice of Stephen Colbert as his successor, Letterman notes that the network wasted little time making a decision after hearing that Letterman would retire.
“They didn’t have to put much thought to it, did they?” Letterman says. “I think it was the very next day. [laughs] But if you’re running the show with Jimmy Fallon, that’s a certain dynamic. Jimmy Kimmel, a completely different dynamic. And now Stephen Colbert will add a third, different dynamic to it. I think it will be very interesting to see what he will do.”
To read the full interview, please click on the link near the top of this story.