Dave’s scandal was ahead of the curve
November 3, 2019 8:39 PM   Subscribe

Ten Years Ago, I Called Out David Letterman. This Month, We Sat Down to Talk. By Nell Scovell, former writer for the Late Night with David Letterman show, for Vanity Fair
posted by cendawanita (13 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sharing this one because I appreciated how she didn't let him off the hook either.
posted by cendawanita at 8:40 PM on November 3, 2019 [14 favorites]


Read this the other day and yeah, I was impressed both by Letterman's willingness to say he fucked up and her putting out there her complicated feelings of both gratefulness that shit was acknowledged and yet the lingering feeling that it wasn't completely handled or absolved.
posted by drewbage1847 at 8:46 PM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


I was happy to have read the piece because it wasn’t angering.

This annoyed me. Good thing she was exactly diplomatic enough for him, then.
posted by lollusc at 1:18 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


I was happy to have read the piece because it wasn’t angering.

This annoyed me. Good thing she was exactly diplomatic enough for him, then.


I don't think that's about how she wrote the article, whether it's an "angering" piece but about how he reacted to it. I took that section to mean that he might well have been angry if he'd read it when published, but because of the personal changes he has (allegedly) undergone he was able to find value in it now.
posted by Acid Communist at 3:17 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


I thought that he said it wasn't angering because it was all true, as he says later, near the end of the piece. He's been thinking through how he behaved for years, and she told the truth, so there was nothing in the piece to make him angry, just guilty that he did those things.
posted by ceejaytee at 4:07 AM on November 4, 2019 [28 favorites]


Yeah, that's what I thought he meant. "I can't be angry about this because you only said true things" is a healthy way to respond to a callout.
posted by uberchet at 8:17 AM on November 4, 2019 [16 favorites]


Really surprising apology and appropriate reaction to guilt, surprising only because so few of these dudes ever seem to truly fess up. I am always reticent to congratulate anyone for merely doing what is right in apologizing for harm they've caused, so I won't, but there are plenty of unrepentant men who have been called out and exposed and seem to never even truly understand what harm they've done and are doing.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:17 AM on November 4, 2019


I like that he attributed some of the show's earlier success to co-creator Merrill Markoe. I'd heard that she was a big part of the show, but the star of a show doesn't necessarily like to admit that sort of thing. Her wikipedia page says that she and Letterman were in a relationship for several years, and while I know nothing about that relationship, apparently the break-up saw her leaving her job and the state! So that sucks. It also sucks that her influence on Letterman seems to have been less "women should work on the show because they add tremendous value" and more "women should work on the show because I can have sex with them."

It's an interesting piece, and I'm always glad when people choose to be more introspective than defensive about their mistakes. But also...goddammit, y'know?
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:09 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think self-loathing has always been part of Dave’s persona, so when women step forward, he is already primed to flagellate himself. So his admissions aren’t necessarily indications of healthy change.

To the extent he is doing the work, however, that should be acknowledged and supported because that’s where the real, positive change will happen. I was heartened to read that he changed the execs on his new show in response to being called out. Apologizing to the women he wronged so long ago is a good first step, as well.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 11:23 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


Markoe's role in Dave's early success is pretty common knowledge for fans, even people who were teenage fans in the 80s like me. I don't know that he ever AVOIDED acknowledging her contributions, but he's been so uncomfortable discussing the show or himself AT ALL for so long that it could be taken that way.
apparently the break-up saw her leaving her job and the state!
"Had to leave the state" makes it sound a lot worse than "high-level comedy writer with Emmys opts for LA after breaking up with partner in NYC."
posted by uberchet at 2:07 PM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


On a quick glance, our comments are about Scovell a little more than half as much as they are about Letterman.

I don't know if that really means anything. Just seems odd.
posted by Ickster at 5:12 PM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


I was glad to read this, thanks.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:42 AM on November 5, 2019


I’m just so exhausted. She’s still doing all the work. She knows why it’s important.

He gets to get his people to book phone calls for apologies.

I’m so tired for her and all women.

Maybe if we had had the dreaded (and not existent) “cancel culture” back then it could have been nipped in the bud. We didn’t have the resources to hold people accountable (hashtags don’t just go away I guess)

I’m so tired!
posted by Dressed to Kill at 8:21 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


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