D.avid letterman knows how to make a splash. Over three seasons of his Netflix interview series My next guest doesn’t need an introduction– the last falls this Wednesday – the former Late show The presenter landed a very famous guest for each premiere.
The first President Barack Obama came for the first time in early 2018 and gave his most extensive on-camera interview since leaving office for the long-bearded letterman. Last year season two began with a fiery meeting with Kanye West, who both said he felt “bullied” by liberals for supporting Trump and admitted that he had never voted in his life. “Then you have no say,”
Now, it’s the reality show star mogul’s turn to join Letterman on stage for another intriguing conversation as the season three opens.
Letterman begins the interview, recorded earlier this year, before the coronavirus pandemic began, by admonishing the Kardashian clan to be late to the theater. “Oh for God’s sake the show isn’t on the show?” he asks jokingly when Kris Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian arrive. An empty seat next to Jenner will soon be occupied by an even later Kanye West.
The interview itself starts with really curious questions from Letterman about hair extensions before the host actually puts in some kind of apology for the mockery Keeping up with the Kardashians in his Late show Monologues back then. “Well, here we are and we are not laughing now,” he says, referring to the overwhelming success her family has achieved. He also dislikes the whole notion that Kardashian is “famous for being famous” because he admits that there is some ability to do a show like hers.
From then on, things quickly shift on more substantive issues, including her father’s role in the OJ Simpson trial – she still won’t say whether she believes he is guilty out of respect for his children – and Kardashian’s recent crusade as a lawyer for reform of the prison sentence. Which, of course, leads to her unlikely alliance with President Donald Trump.
“Hopefully I’ll work with the White House for the next several administrations and help them with clemencies,” Kardashian said when a photo of her and Alice Johnson, the woman she personally persuaded the President to serve, appears on screen commuting, in the Oval Office with Trump.
Clearly unhappy with the idea of endorsing Trump’s image, Letterman then asks, “But do you believe that what is being done now about this current administration in the name of condemning reform is in some way balancing democracy in a corridor which allows viability again? “
It’s a horribly phrased, nonsensical question that evokes the only logical answer from its guest, who replies, “Well, I have no idea what you just said.”
After the laughter and applause subsided, Letterman tries another route. “I’m grateful for what you are doing, but I don’t feel any better about the current administration,” he says. But, as she has done repeatedly over the past few years, Kardashian refuses to say a bad word about the man in the White House, just telling him, “I get that.”
She won’t even tell Letterman who she voted for in the presidential election. She sits in silence and squeezes it with the words: “I know who I am voting for.” Although the interview was taped before Joe Biden completed the Democratic nomination and before Kanye West officially threw his MAGA hat in the ring, the obvious implication is who has the best chance of beating Trump.
“Trust me, everyone has called and said, ‘Don’t you dare enter the White House or your reputation has failed,” says Kardashian, arguing that it was a small price to pay to save people’s lives who would otherwise die in prison.
“But you see, your good work is overwhelming,” admits Letterman. “It’s a positive force that diminishes what I consider unacceptable behavior on the part of the president.”
“Trust me, everyone called me and said, “Don’t you dare go into the White House or your reputation is over.””
– – Kim Kardashian West
Rather than agreeing that there was such “unacceptable behavior”, Kardashian simply says she is “extremely grateful” for the government’s work on criminal justice reform and will focus on what it can achieve.
“Why don’t I feel like this? I may not be as good as you “Asks Letterman in response before realizing that he may have hit a dead end and move on to other issues. Their conversation culminated in a truly harrowing account of the 2016 Paris heist that Kardashian said she was sure she would die.
Throughout the hour, Letterman’s apparent affection for Kardashian is evident. Ultimately, he tells her that she is “coming out on the right side of everything”. But he is also clearly concerned about their utter refusal to criticize Trump, whom he has known for decades should never have received the power of the presidency.
Months after her interview, Alice Johnson appeared as spokeswoman for the Republican National Convention. But while she thanked the president extensively for commuting her sentence, she particularly declined to endorse him for a second term. Like Kardashian, Johnson told CNN’s Jake Tapper that she was “focused” on this tight mission and that she didn’t want to say anything that could hurt Trump’s ego.
As a reality show star, Kardashian knows that Trump cares a lot more about being liked than about actually helping people so that she doesn’t reveal the slightest hint of disapproval. Letterman has become a world-class interviewer in its new longer format, but even he couldn’t make her break.