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My Next Guest Needs No Introduction is a talk show in search of absolution.
The massive beard tells a story.
David - Letterman - Eye - Years - Television
David Letterman walked away from the public eye in 2015, after 33 years in late-night television. Now Letterman has returned with a new show on Netflix, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, and a beard that makes him look like either Santa in the off season or a member of ZZ Top.
The beard is indicative of identity change. It’s well-chronicled that Letterman has been a Grade-A jerk, a sarcastic and occasionally cruel smart aleck who would happily offend guests to get a laugh. Cher famously called him an a****** on the air. I’m sure she meant it at the moment, but it was also part of the act—she returned in the final weeks of Late Show with David Letterman to call him the name again and everyone was delighted.
Backstage - Revelations - Former - Late - Show
Backstage revelations, however, have been more disturbing. Former Late Show writer Nell Scovell wrote a Vanity Fair piece revealing the hostile work environment Letterman created. In 2009, Letterman was the target of a blackmail attempt by someone with inside knowledge of his multiple affairs with staff members. New York Times critic Jason Zinoman’s Letterman book praises his genius while exposing his reclusiveness and massive insecurity. An anecdote from Bill Carter’s book about the Jay Leno-Letterman late night war says volumes: One night during a commercial break, Teri Garr, a Letterman favorite, asked how he was doing. Unable to be heard over the band, Letterman simply scribbled on a piece of paper, “I hate myself.” When Garr objected, Letterman took the note back and underlined it twice. He seethed night after night because NBC didn’t give him The Tonight Show and the affable Leno beat him in the ratings, and he took his anger out...
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