Letterman and Obama Refuse to Name-Check Trump in Bland Sit-Down

Barack Obama with David Letterman

Friday's Netflix premiere of David Letterman's interview with former President Barack Obama received negative reviews from the press, with critics calling the host too "fawning" and the overall show "bland" and "lackluster". If there's a bold idea with My Next Guest, it's to be as un-bold as possible.

The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman said the interview was "not groundbreaking" and added that it was a "big disappointment" not to get juicy Obama remarks about Trump.

The pair are very relaxed together, genuinely seeming to be friends and starting by bonding over their respective retirements, Obama having immediately headed to the British Virgin Islands, Letterman to an island off Newfoundland.

In addition to Obama, other guests on the show include George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Tina Fey, Jay-Z and Howard Stern. At that show, Franken often turned the questions around on Letterman, leading to a kind of a back and forth where each person takes a turn at getting interviewed.

I have always thought of Letterman as an acquired taste that not everyone acquired. Recorded in the fall and aired December 27, the former president said that leaders shouldn't use social media to stoke division.

"I have a story about Malia that I've not told anyone", Letterman tells Obama, who has his eyebrows raised in suspicion.

The only time that Trump's name is uttered throughout the program is when Letterman travels to Selma, Ala., to speak with civil rights figure Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and asks about the lawmaker's decision not to attend the 45th president's inauguration.

Letterman directed The Late Show between 1993 and 2015.

This time around, he's partnered with Netflix for a pared-back version of his Late Show.

I don't think British audiences have taken to this backslapping American approach to interviewing even heavyweight subjects. There seem to be a seventy-nine cameras pointed at Letterman's stage, with overly dramatic cutting to close-ups and iMovie-worthy photo montages. It's not a late-night talk show.

Letterman has mostly stayed out of the public eye since leaving television more than two-and-a-half years ago.

This was very moving, many stylistic miles removed from the barrier-bursting tomfoolery that once made the host famous. Letterman walked onstage, introduced his guest, and they sat down for an hour.

Obama pivoted the conversation on race to discuss barriers that still exist for voting in America.

He went to India as a reporter: In 2016, Letterman spent 11 days reporting on climate change, energy shortages and other environmental issues in India for an episode of the National Geographic Channel documentary series, "Year of Living Dangerously".

I see some of you are, but not all of you. The fine art of conversation has faded a bit from late night. But the first thing we see when the show opens is Letterman, at his office, calling Obama, pleading with him to be on his new show.

Obama avoided mentioning Trump, who blasts both the media and the Russian Federation investigation regularly, and instead opted to go more broad with his answer. What better fantasy come true for anyone who misses both men terribly?

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