Letterman’s Mom Had A Stroke, And Other Bits From His First Post-Show Interview

In his first interview since leaving the Late Show with David Letterman, the comedian and talk show veteran sat down with college buddy, Ron Pearson, to discuss everything from retirement to racing. The written interview just came out in the latest issue of Indianapolis Monthly, and aside from it being a great, casual conversation between old friends, it gives Letterman fans a unique look into Dave’s life after television.

One of the more immediate things to come out of the article is the news that Dave’s mom, Dorothy Mengering, recently had a stroke but is recovering nicely:

She had a stroke a couple of weeks ago, but she’s fine. She’s 94, for heaven’s sake. If I had a stroke, I’d be hospitalized for the rest of my life. My mom has one, and she’s fine.

Gah! It’s disheartening to read about it a first, especially since Letterman fans have been privy to what his mom has been up to for much of the show’s run. But it’s good to know she’s doing okay.

After clearing that bit of news up, Letterman and Pearson dive into some of the more trickier aspects of retired life. Like whether or not Dave can function without an assistant:

So the show is over. After decades of having professionals around to do your hair and makeup, who’s going to do those things for you now?

That’s certainly one of my primary concerns. I wasn’t born helpless, but when I first started doing the show, my manager said, “You’re going to need an assistant.” I asked why, and he said, “Well, you’ll need somebody to make phone calls.” And I thought, I can’t make my own calls? As it turns out, after all these years of having someone make my calls for me, I can no longer operate a telephone. I don’t know what to do with my hair, either. But I’ll never wear makeup again, so that’s no problem.

I’ve been blessed to have a few great executive assistants over the years, and I’ve had some pleasant conversations with yours, Mary Barclay. Will she stay on with you now that you’re retired?

Yes, I’m happy that two of the women who have worked with me will continue doing so for awhile. It’s stunning what you find out about yourself when everything you’ve done for 33 years changes. It’s like ice melting out from under you. I know that regular, responsible people probably hear me whining like this and think, Oh, brother. But I’m trying to rehabilitate myself, so keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

He’s also spending a lot of time with his son, Harry:

What are your other hobbies these days?

I love fishing with my son. Any kind of trout fishing where you can stand in the river is just delightful. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I can stand in the river. I’m pretty good at that. And isn’t that 90 percent of it?

That, and trying not to die:

Cycling seems like a good retirement hobby for you. As I recall, you liked to ride. Do you throw your leg over a bike anymore?

I do on occasion. But as I get older, I’m starting to realize that I don’t want to be found dead in a ditch somewhere. I’ll leave cycling to younger men.

Great, Dave. We don’t want you to die. Please live forever and occasionally return to guest host the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

(Indianapolis Monthly via The Hollywood Reporter)