Critics are lukewarm on the first episode of David
Letterman’s new Netflix talk show, which features Barack
The show currently sits at an early rating of 60% on
Critics are responding to the premiere episode of David
Letterman’s new monthly Netflix talk show with generally lukewarm
“My Next Guest With Needs No Introduction with David Letterman”
currently sits at
an early rating of 60% on the reviews aggregator Rotten
Tomatoes, after its debut, Barack Obama-featuring episode
premiered Friday on the streaming service.
Around 40 minutes of the 56-minute-long episode are dedicated to
an intimate and meandering conversation with the former president
in a stripped-down, studio audience setting.
The Boston Globe’s Matthew Gilbert described Letterman’s talk
with Obama as “a frustrating exercise in talking a lot but,
ultimately, saying very little.” Other critics had praise for the
more personal anecdotes Obama shared, including a bit about
helping his daughter move into Harvard.
The remainder of the show consists of a solemn field segment with
Letterman and Congressman John Lewis in Selma, Alabama. The two
walk and converse on the bridge where Lewis endured a police
beating in 1965, during a legendary Civil Rights march.
In contrast to Letterman’s previous 22 years of hosting
comedy-centric, late-night shows (NBC’s “Late Night” and CBS’s
“The Late Show”), the first episode of his Netflix series
features a more thoughtful and laid-back approach to the
Netflix made a previous run at a talk-show series with
Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea,” which it
October after two seasons that failed to move the needle in a
crowded landscape. In contrast to Letterman’s monthly series,
“Chelsea” initially aired three times a week before scaling back
to weekly episodes in its second season.
USA Today’s Kelly Lawler called Letterman’s premiere “a bit
lackluster” and “halfhearted,” others saw potential in the show’s
Matt Zoller Seitz wrote, “The looser and more structurally
inventive things get here, the more fascinating the results could
The remaining guests on the show’s first season include
Jay-Z, Malala Yousafzai, Tina Fey, George Clooney, and