Maybe he really digs the full Santa Claus beard every former late-night host is apparently required to grow as soon as they step away from the desk. Or maybe he’s just been paying attention to how hard Samantha Bee has been killing it lately. Either way, David Letterman says in a new interview with Tom Brokaw that he doesn’t give a shit about the Late Show anymore, and that, frankly, the whole thing is a bit of a boys’ club.
“I thought for sure I would,” he says, asked if he misses being on TV every night. “And then, the first day of Stephen’s show, when he went on the air, an energy left me and I felt like, ‘You know, that’s not my problem anymore.’ And I’ve kind of felt that way ever since.” He adds, “I couldn’t care less about late-night television. I’m happy for the guys –men and women–there should be more women. And I don’t know why they didn’t give my show to a woman. That would have been fine.”
On the one hand, this seems like too little, too late on Letterman’s part. He says his network overlords “didn’t ask me about anything” when picking a new host, so it’s not like he hand-picked a successor. But, if he really did care about gender equality in late night, he could have publicly advocated for a female comedian—like Chelsea Handler, whose name was apparently on CBS’s short list for the job—to take his place, and put pressure on his bosses that way. That would have been more than fine.
A preview of the interview is below; you can watch the whole thing this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT as part of Dateline’s On Assignment series.