David Letterman confesses that he doesn’t work too hard these days, and also admits he’s found relief from anxiety and depression by taking a mild anti-depressant.
Dave talked about these and many other private subjects in a rare interview for public radio that was conducted by none other than Alec Baldwin, star of NBC’s “30 Rock” who has appeared on Letterman’s late-night shows for years.
In the interview, Letterman, 65, really lets his hair down (what’s left of it) about his CBS “Late Show,” the Ed Sullivan Theater, his early days in show business and other topics. Not only is such an interview a rarity for Dave, but this one lasted almost 45 minutes, which is nearly unheard-of for him.
The interview was conducted for a public radio show Baldwin hosts (and also stars in) called “Here’s the Thing,” in which he interviews celebrity guests. The show originates from New York’s public radio station WNYC.
In this very-entertaining interview, Dave talks about:
His present-day work habits: “I do a lot less work than I used to do,” he told Alec. “I just got to a point where I have no patience for meetings so I don’t go to any meetings. I can’t make decisions anymore; I don’t like making decisions. We have a dozen producers. They can have the meetings and they can make the decisions, and I’ll just come down and somebody tell me what to do and we go. … I used to be involved in everything big and large. I don’t think that was necessarily good, but at the time I thought it was what was required. When you had your own show, you had to have everything in your view and certainly influence each little choice.”
His anxiety and treatment: A few years ago, “the [doctor] said, ‘Well, you’re in an anxious depression’,” Dave said. “And [the doctor] says, ‘You know, there are things we could do here to help you out.’ I said, ‘I’ll try anything, because I can’t go on like this.’ So it’s a small dose of an SSRI [selective seratonin reuptake inhibitor]. Suddenly, I realize I can have myself, my personality, the person that I’ve known and then lose what was detracting, what was hurting, what was actually an impediment [to conducting his everyday life].”
Getting his first guest shot on the “Carson” show: “I drove in a pickup truck with my wife to L.A., and three years later I’m sitting next to Johnny Carson. That’s not supposed to happen. It’s just not supposed to happen. But it did.”
The Ed Sullivan Theater: “I’ve really grown fond of the theater at CBS, the Ed Sullivan Theater. It’s comfortable; it’s fun; it smells of decades and decades and decades of show business. There’s tunnels, and alleys, and rats, but it’s fantastic. I mean it’s just so versatile and so great. And also the way Hal [Gurnee] set it up in the beginning, it’s fairly intimate. You can have a pretty reasonable conversation there in this 500-seat room, and so I think it works fine as a TV studio now.
Dave also talked about his early days as a very young announcer and weatherman on TV in Indianapolis, his standup comedy days in L.A., his private life (and why he’s averse to parties and public functions) and a whole host of other topics we haven’t heard him talk about before.