David Letterman's Bizarre Confession

What Women Really Think
Oct. 2 2009 9:58 AM

David Letterman's Bizarre Confession

David Letterman’s confession last night that he has slept with women he works with was a perfect window into the twisted psyche of the comic. (Read Troy Patterson’s excellent close reading here. ) This is why women don’t want to stay married to comedians (the subject of Judd Apatow’s Funny People ). They can’t break form, even in what should be the most shattering and intimate of moments. Even as Letterman is changing our view of him forever he is exactly himself, with his deadpan delivery and self-mockery. There is hardly a moment when you’re totally sure whether he’s joking or not. The audience laughs in the beginning because they think it’s one of his usual routines, but they keep laughing even after he’s made his confession. Because they’re in shock? Because that’s how the relationship works-he makes the jokes, they laugh.

Troy asks: "Say sorry to whom? To his public? Why do we deserve an apology?" We don’t, I guess. Do the women? Who knows; we don’t know anything about what actually happened. But we will hash over endless scenarios involving Letterman the sleazebag predator until he actually says something real. Which, if the comedian stereotype is true, he never will.


Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.


Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 23 2014 9:01 AM Tristan Da Cunha: Life on the World's Most Remote Island
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:46 AM How Men Talk About Relationships in Rom-Coms: While Playing Sports
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand with Emma Watson
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.