David Letterman talks about ‘the black hole’

I had an obsession in my early teen years: David Letterman. I’m not quite sure how it all started, but for several years, I collected every media clipping I could find about him and even found a biography (or two) on him to read. In fact, the pictures of Letterman above are some of the ones I accumulated during my infatuation with Dave. While he has his TV show that is on daily, he is not one to be in the media outside of the “Late Show.” But I noticed that he was going to be on tonight’s Barbara Walters special, “A Matter of Life and Death,” a program highlighting heart disease. I just had to see the show.

Several celebrities, including Letterman, “bared their hearts” about going through open heart surgery. David Letterman recounted the process of finding out that he needed surgery, going through surgery, and so on. But a simple question about depression after such surgery turned to a more poignant moment where he talked about how he knew the difference between “the black hole” and simple sadness. Barbara Walters questioned him a little more about what he meant, and he spoke about the experience of depression and being treated for it. Walters then questioned him whether he was medicated for it, and he answered that, in addition to his heart meds, he was on medication for depression. (Note: I hope I can find direct quotes or a transcript form this interview)

Knowing how private he is about, well, everything, I was surprised and really touched that he spoke about something that he wasn’t required to say. Sure, other people have talked about their mental health issues, but it meant something to me that David Letterman, the man I looked up to for such a long time, was open about it.

Perhaps it was that secret sadness underneath the humor that attracted me to him all those years ago…but as I laugh out loud while watching his show, I also think that laughter may have been what kept me going during those years, too.

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8 Responses to “David Letterman talks about ‘the black hole’”

  1. First of all, I just have to say that I have been working on changing my blog theme, too, and coming over here I find that you picked a theme that I first chose myself. I love it for your blog, it’s very clean and minimalist and it just works for you!

    Okay, so I missed the segment where David Letterman talked about his experience and I am sad that I missed it because I too have looked up to him for some reason. He always sort of reminded me of my dad… the humorous side of him, and I love that side of him, I just haven’t seen it near as much as I would like. I also always had this sense that he would make a good dad, I don’t know why, but I sort of imagined how fun it would be if he was my father. When he had his heart surgery and had recovered, I recall becoming very emotional myself as David expressed emotion and his gratitude to his team of doctors. He welcomed and introduced them all on stage during his comeback show. Do you remember that?

    Thanks for writing about this, it is nice to know of this sort of kinship we share with David Letterman. I hope I get to see a taping of the special sometime.

  2. Abeeliever, thank you for visiting my page, and thanks for noticing the little change that I made lately! I’m so glad to hear that someone likes it! That’s funny that we both thought about picking the same theme. Btw, the old theme that you had was one of the ones I considered at one point :)

    If/When I find a clip of that Letterman/Walters segment, I’ll be sure to let you know. The whole show was done really well, but I was definitely surprised when the talk with Dave extended beyond just about the heart surgery. Yes, I do remember his comeback. And it is always neat to hear him speak about being a father.

    I, too, am glad to hear that we share this in common aside from MH blogging, etc. Btw, my parents got to go to a taping of “The Late Show” last year. I was so jealous!

  3. I believe this is the link to the video you are looking for.

    http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/david-letterman-regis-philbin-12846597

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