Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

David Letterman: Warren Zevon and Bill Clinton were two tough interviews

Posted on

Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Almost four weeks have passed since David Letterman signed off from the desk of CBS’ The Late Show, and while he may not be playing dominoes with President Obama (that we know of), Letterman is using his retirement to fish, catch up with friends, and dish on the experience of hosting a late-night talk show.

In an interview with Indianapolis Monthly, the first he’s given since entering retirement, Letterman revealed the two guests who made him most anxious: singer-songwriter Warren Zevon and President Bill Clinton. “Warren Zevon was on years ago, and we all knew he was dying,” Letterman recalled. (Zevon died in 2003 due to inoperable lung cancer.) “I was at a loss because I couldn’t think of an entry point for a conversation with a dying man on a television show that’s supposed to be silly. ‘How are you doing? You look great!’ doesn’t exactly work. I was really dissatisfied with my part of that conversation. I was ill-equipped to connect with a friend who was going through something like that.”

As for Clinton, Letterman was unprepared to watch the famously effective orator at work: “The first time Bill Clinton was on the show, I was a little anxious for totally different reasons. Of course, what I learned about Bill was that you don’t even need to be in the studio for that interview. He’ll take care of it.”

Good to know that Letterman never had to fear any of his guests due to attitude problems — although, according to Julia Roberts, that may be because they feared him.

For the full interview with Letterman, head to Indianapolis Monthly.