D.Greedy Letterman knows how to impress. Over three seasons of his Netflix interview series My next guest needs no introduction—The most recent of which falls this Wednesday – the first Late Show the host got a very famous guest for each episode of the premiere.
The first came with former President Barack Obama in early 2018, who gave his most in-depth interview on camera since leaving office at the unshaven Letterman. Last year, season two opened with a fiery sit-down with Kanye West, who both claimed to feel “bullied” by liberals for supporting Trump and admitted he never voted in his life. “Then you have no say,”
Now, it’s the turn of that reality show turned fashion mogul to join Letterman on stage for another fascinating conversation to open season three.
Letterman begins the interview, which was taped earlier this year, before the coronavirus pandemic began, admonishing the Kardashian clan that they were late to the theater. “Oh for God’s sake, isn’t the show time on the ticket?” he jokingly asks as Kris Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, and Khloe Kardashian line up. An empty seat next to Jenner is soon occupied by a Kanye West even later.
The interview itself begins with Letterman’s genuinely curious questions about hair extensions before the guest actually comes up with some sort of excuse for teasing. Keeping up with the Kardashians in his Late Show monologues back in time. “Well, here we are and we’re not laughing now,” he says, pointing to his family’s overwhelming success. He also rejects the whole notion that Kardashian is “famous for being famous” because he admits that there are some skills involved in making a show like their job.
From there, things quickly take a turn towards more substantive topics, including her father’s role in the O.J. The Simpson trial – she still won’t say if she thinks he’s guilty out of respect for her children – and Kardashian’s latest crusade as a proponent of prison sentence reform. Which, of course, leads to his unlikely alliance with President Donald Trump.
“Hopefully, for the next multiple administrations, I will work with the White House, helping it with clemency,” Kardashian explains, while a photo of him appears on the screen with Alice Johnson, the woman he personally convinced the president to condemn commuter life sentence in the Oval Office with Trump.
Clearly uncomfortable with the idea of helping Trump’s image, Letterman then asks, “But do you feel that what is being done on behalf of sentencing reform now through this current administration somehow allows for the balance of democracy. in a feasibility corridor? “
It’s a terribly worded and nonsensical question that elicits the only logical response from its host, who replies, “Well, I have no idea what you just said.”
After the laughter and applause subsides, Letterman tries another tactic. “I’m grateful for what you’re doing, but it doesn’t make me feel better with the current administration,” he says. But as he has done several times over the past two years, Kardashian refuses to say a bad word about the man in the White House, just saying, “I get it.”
She won’t even tell Letterman who she votes for in the presidential election, sitting silently as he insists on her saying, “I know who I vote for.” Although the interview was recorded before Joe Biden blocked the Democratic nomination and before Kanye West officially threw his MAGA hat in the ring, the obvious implication is whoever has the best chance of beating Trump.
“Trust me, everyone called me and said, ‘Don’t you dare set foot in that White House or your reputation is over,'” says Kardashian, arguing it was a small price to pay to save the lives of people who otherwise they would have killed him in prison.
“But you see, your good work is overwhelming,” Letterman admits. “It’s a positive force that belittles what I consider unacceptable behavior on the part of the president.”
“Believe me, everyone called me and said, “Don’t you dare set foot in that White House or your reputation is gone.”“
– Kim Kardashian West
Instead of accepting that such “unacceptable behavior” exists, Kardashian merely says she is “extremely grateful” for the administration’s work on criminal justice reform and “will stay focused” on what it can accomplish.
“Why don’t I feel like that? Maybe I’m not as good a person as you?” Letterman asks in response, before realizing that perhaps he has come to a dead end and move on to other topics. Their conversation culminates with a truly heartbreaking account of the 2016 Paris robbery during which Kardashian says she was sure she was going to die.
Throughout the hour, Letterman’s obvious affection for Kardashian is evident. Eventually, he tells her she’s “out of the right side of everything”. But he is also clearly distressed by his outright refusal to criticize Trump, whom he has known for decades should never have been given the power of the presidency.
Months after their interview, Alice Johnson appeared as a speaker at the Republican National Convention. But while he thanked the president profusely for commuting his sentence, he specifically refused to support him for a second term. Like Kardashian, Johnson told CNN’s Jake Tapper that she was “focused” on this narrow mission and clearly didn’t want to say anything that would hurt Trump’s ego.
As a fellow reality show star, Kardashian knows Trump cares more about being liked than actually helping people, so he wouldn’t reveal even the slightest hint of disapproval. Letterman has become a world-class interviewer in her new longer format, but even he couldn’t get her to break up.