David Letterman tells Obama about his Fogo Island vacation

Angelo Anderson
January 13, 2018

Obama shared a story about being called up onstage during a Prince performance by his daughter Sasha, 16, in the inaugural episode of David Letterman's new Netflix show, "My Guest Needs No Introduction", which was released on Friday. If there's a bold idea with My Next Guest, it's to be as un-bold as possible.

"One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don't share a common baseline of facts", Obama responded.

In the episode with former president Barack Obama, Letterman casually mentions visiting Fogo Island.

While Letterman obviously isn't a fan of Trump, who appeared on The Late Show several times, the focus isn't him. "I'm a holy man now", Letterman responded.

Ironically, Letterman may talk more politics with some of those guests than he did with Obama. A gifted broadcaster and hallowed comedian, Letterman's series promised to be a rich meal where, often, the late-night sphere from which he departed in 2015 can feel like a series of ephemeral snacks. Back in 2014, he announced he was (voluntarily) retiring from hosting the Late Show. "These are people that I admire". There seem to be a seventy-nine cameras pointed at Letterman's stage, with overly dramatic cutting to close-ups and iMovie-worthy photo montages. This is late-night talk.

David Letterman tells Obama about his Fogo Island vacation
David Letterman tells Obama about his Fogo Island vacation

The interviewer and his guest haven't been seen around these parts in recent times, but, still, they need no introduction.

Obama has laid low since leaving the White House previous year, appearing only in a few public appearances and a radio interview with Prince Harry of the British Royal Family recorded in September and broadcasted in December. But reinventing the wheel isn't necessary if watching Letterman be allowed to be serious, to talk at length to people he's interested in, leads in turn to a little more insight into Letterman himself. Both men were noticeably more relaxed and eager when the conversation turned from the political to the personal. (He'd quickly have to overcome his reluctance to speak about the current President.) I'm already picturing his interview with Hillary Clinton, perhaps a pair of tumblers on a glass-top between them.

"Letterman was never known for his interrogatory skills anyway-the occasional delightful curveball notwithstanding-and nothing he does here is going to reverse that impression", Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz wrote.

My Next Guest is in no hurry, and the Clooney episode gives me a powerful foreboding. The fine art of conversation has faded a bit from late night. She is the famed activist from Pakistan who is the youngest person to ever win a Nobel Prize. (The première episode also includes a stirring segment of Letterman in Selma, Alabama, walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Congressman John Lewis.) Mostly, the former President is on autopilot, speaking in the way he sometimes does, where you can nearly see him thinking a few sentences or ideas ahead, which makes him appear less than completely present.

His new show, judging by the clip viewed on Wednesday, resembles a scaled down version of his old program but with a more intimate dynamic.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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