Retirement becomes David Letterman, apparently -- the languor of endless days, also the longueur of shaving, which he doesn't' have to worry about anymore. He's grown a beard, a generous one, and suggests in a recent interview with Montana-based Whitefish Review that it's not going anywhere either.
He doesn't miss TV, and has barely paid attention to his successor, Stephen Colbert. With this interview as evidence, Dave has moved on -- to a much happier place. (Why did this come from Montana? As you probably know, Letterman has split much of his time between New York and Montana for years).
You can check it out at whitefishreview.org, but some outtakes from this interview, conducted by a Whitefish Review editor, Brian Schott, in late November, do indeed sketch a portrait of Letterman that in some ways is entirely unexpected: There is no irascibility in this encounter, no sense that he owes the world anything or vice versa. The beard, he admits, has almost become a character in its own right -- an accessory hated by all who see it which he puckishly admits has encouraged him to keep growing it.
Schott doesn't bring up Letterman's next TV project. He is traveling to India soon to tape an appearance for a National Geographic Channel series, "Years of Living Dangerously," specifically addressing climate change. It is unclear whether Nat Geo wants Grizzly Adams as host of the episode, so let's assume the beard takes at least a minor trim by the time the cameras roll.
Meanwhile, of Colbert, and "Late Show," Letterman has almost no opinion:
"...I’m surprised—I can remember the first day that Stephen Colbert took over—put his [new] show on the air. I thought I would have some trouble, some emotional trouble, or some feeling of displacement, but I realized, hey, that’s not my problem anymore. And I have felt much better. It’s something for younger men and women to take on. So I haven’t missed it, the way I thought I might. And I do little things here and there to sort of keep me up and moving. But no, I don’t miss it the way I thought—and then I think, holy crap! I’ll be 69 next year and I’ve been doing this for 33 years. What did I want? Like you work until you’re a hundred? So there’s a lot of practical reasons why a person wouldn’t miss this."
And of that beard...: "I had to shave every day, every day, for 33 years. And even before that when I was working on local TV. And I just thought, the first thing I will do when I am not on TV is stop shaving. And everybody hates it. My wife hates it. My son hates it. But it’s interesting. I’ve kind of developed a real creepy look with it that I’m sort of enjoying. And I can tell that people are off-put by it. And the more people implore me to shave, the stronger my resolve is to not shave. So the day that I shave, I’ll call you."