The Rushmore Report: David Letterman Says Retirement Has Ruined His Self-Esteem


David Letterman’s beard has captivated the country with its chill retirement aesthetic, but as it turns out, the former Late Show host has a few qualms about retiring since leaving the show in May 2015. Accepting a Peabody Award this week from his friend Steve Martin, Letterman discussed how retirement has been a blow to his self-esteem. Accepting the award, he said this . . .

“Thank you very much. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Steve Martin, first of all – if you want to be in show business of any description, Steve Martin is who you ought to shoot for. When I leave this planet, I will leave behind a body.”

His rambling comments continued: “First, of course you must tire, then retire. If you want to have something affect your self-esteem, retire. I got very excited because the Obamas invited myself and my wife to a state dinner, and I said, ‘Oh my God, Regina, we’ve been invited to a state dinner!’ And she says, ‘Oh, I love steak!'”

He described the event. “So I’m seated at dinner next to a man who is the assistant chief of staff to the prime minister of Norway. And I’m feeling like a big shot. And we’re chatting, and we’re chatting, and we’re chatting. And when it comes about dessert time, and the guy says to me, ‘Excuse me, Why are you here?’ And I said, ‘You know what? I think I picked up somebody else’s mail.’ And he says, ‘So you’re here by mistake?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Oh.'”

In his concluding remarks, Letterman said, “So there you go – you get invited to the state dinner, nobody knows why. That’s the sum total of being retired.”

About the Author

Jennifer Vineyard writes for Vineyard Magazine. In 2014 she joined the New York magazine’s staff as a full-time senior editor.


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