As Jay Leno bemoans the politically one-sided meanness of today’s late-night comedy landscape – a stance all but impossible to take seriously after John Oliver’s brilliant debunking – his former rival for wee-hour dominance is having some reflections of his own. Specifically, David Letterman thinks he stuck around too long.
On today’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Letterman says he now believes he should have retired six years earlier than he did (the former host of CBS’ Late Show called it quits in 2015). Watch the clip above.
“Here’s the mistake I made,” a serious (for a bit) Letterman tells DeGeneres. “I stayed on television way too long…”
“That’s not true,” Ellen interjects.
“Yes, it is true and I’ll tell you what happened. Turns out nobody had the guts to fire me. I should have left 10 years ago.”
After praising DeGeneres’ “energy” for exploring life and projects outside of her TV show, Letterman says he didn’t have that energy. “All I cared about was myself, and then the show was gone and I had to realize, ‘Oh, I’ve been looking through the wrong end of the telescope. There’s more to life than, ‘So tell me about your pet beaver.'”
“Who was that guest?,” Ellen laughingly demands.
Watch the clip above to find out the answer.
Letterman’s appearance today on Ellen is his first in-studio daytime TV appearance since leaving Late Show four years ago.
And as a bonus, check out the clip below in which Letterman recalls the baseball incident, involving his former colleague Mary Connelly (now one of Ellen’s exec producers), an errant baseball, a CBS office 14 floors above Sixth Avenue, a broken window, a crowd forming on the street below and Letterman’s sudden fear of a prison stretch.
Nah, he left too soon…