A New Show for an Old Friend
- November 11, 2020
Have you ever run into an old high school friend decades after graduation and been surprised at how he’s matured? The guy who would do anything for a laugh, who spent way more energy setting up pranks and gags than doing anything else, is suddenly thoughtful, sensitive and yet still the same self-deprecating goofball you loved back in the day. That’s David Letterman in his Netflix original Series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.
For three decades, Letterman was a staple of the late night scene on television. Through the 1980s to the 2010s, he hosted several variety talk shows with performances by the hottest entertainers, interviews with actors promoting their latest work and segments like Stump the Band, Audience Show and Tell and Stupid Human Tricks. Certainly not highbrow entertainment, but very popular nonetheless.
Dave retired in 2015 but after a few years of hibernation, Dave has returned – in an all new format. No gags. No pranks. No Stupid Human Tricks. Just Dave, on a stage, with one guest, asking really thought-provoking and poignant questions in his trademark ‘awe-shucks’ style.
In his first two seasons of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Dave chatted with the likes of Barack Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Kanye West and Howard Stern. His interviews cover topics ranging from folksy, childhood memories to in-depth political and social issues. With each guest, Dave tailors a unique experience where he interacts with them on their terms, like the studio tour he took with Ellen DeGeneres or joining George Clooney on a visit to his parents’ place in Kentucky. It all adds up to a really charming and insightful experience with our old pal, Dave.
Season three opens with Dave sitting down with Kim Kardashian West to talk about her childhood, her rise to fame and her marriage to hip-hop star Kanye West. They talk in depth about Kardashian West’s connection to OJ Simpson and his family and about the attack she survived in Paris, France in 2016. In between segments of this candid conversation, there are snippets of Dave and Kardashian West shopping in a drug store where they raid the candy aisle and search for the perfect pen.
The second episode features an absolutely delightful conversation with Robert Downy Jr. where he talks about growing up in a Hollywood family, recovering from addiction and charting a new path for himself. Dave and Downey Jr. also visit the Iron Man’s Malibu hobby farm where he has amassed a collection of rescue animals and Dave hilariously tries out a career as a farm hand.
In the third episode, Dave travels to Ohio for an intimate conversation with Dave Chappelle about his successful run as a stand-up comedian and his intentional decision to step away from Hollywood. Chappelle discusses how he traded the fast pace of fame for purposeful connection with his community and structured his career in a manner that gives him space to be more of who he really is. The two Daves spend some time wandering through the small town near Chappelle’s farm and compare stories about life in close-knit communities.
Season three wraps up with a COVID friendly visit to Lizzo’s house. The unconventional music sensation shares her flute collection with Dave as she regales him with tales of her time spent under the mentorship of Prince. They touch on topics of protests, body image and the power of creativity. Lizzo even gets Dave into her studio where he test drives a flute and cuts a very awkward track to a Lizzo beat.
All in all, David Letterman has reinvented himself in this series. It’s not so much a career shift but a maturing of an old friend that brings out the very best parts of him. Dave is invested, curious and delightfully sincere in this series. Best of all, he allows each guest the space to tell their story in their way, bringing forward a depth of character and passion that is often missed in the standard short interview format of most shows. My Next Guest Need No Introduction is definitely a must-see Netflix Original Series.
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