Did David Letterman Do "Creepy Things"?

Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 2 2009 11:28 AM

Did David Letterman Do "Creepy Things"?

Troy, while I agree with you that Letterman ultimately won over the Late Show 's studio audience , the dominant emotion in the crowd (and on my couch) was confusion. The strangest thing about Dave's confession was that in his repetition of the phrase "creepy things," he left it entirely unclear whether he actually believed that he had done any "creepy things." The segment coming as it did after a monologue packed with bad skunk jokes was so unexpected and internally incoherent that it was impossible to tell what was supposed to be a laugh line and what wasn't. The crowd, understandably addled by the tragicomic proceedings, perceived Letterman's use of "creepy things" as a running gag, and Dave didn't make any attempt to tamp down the laughter. Yet by the end of the segment, he was asking why everyone was guffawing.

Does Letterman think he committed a serious transgression? The main reason it was hard to tell whether he was taking it seriously and whether we should take it seriously is that he stayed mum about how many of his female staffers he'd slept with and when the affairs had taken place. When the Late Show host said that the admission was embarrassing and that he needed to protect his family, the implication was that it was a big deal. When he followed that up with a crack about how it was more embarrassing for the women, it seemed like he was popping a balloon he'd just spent 10 minutes inflating.


Josh Levin is Slate's executive editor.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Catacombs Where You Can Stroll Down Hallways Lined With Corpses

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 4:15 PM The Trials of White Boy Rick A Detroit crime legend, the FBI, and the ugliness of the war on drugs.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:46 PM Ebola Is No Measles. That’s a Good Thing. Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?