Late Show host David Letterman confessed last night — on national, network television — to having sexual relations with female staffers. He also revealed he was the target of a $2 million extortion attempt.
And, at least for the audience in the studio for the first eight minutes of his monologue, it was funny. And, at least for television critics, it was “brilliant TV“.
As Letterman tells it, the scheme involved the alleged blackmailer — since identified as 51-year-old, Emmy-award winning producer Robert Halderman — demanding that Letterman pay him, or Halderman would write a screenplay detailing all of “the creepy stuff” Letterman does behind-the-scenes at Late Night.
Of course, it’s hard to gauge what type of laughter and applause occurred after Letterman said:
“The creepy stuff” was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show. Now, my response to that is, ‘Yes I have.’ [Laughter & applause]
…but for most people who aren’t David Letterman, having sex with female subordinates does not often lend itself to comedy.
Watch for yourself below, as long as CBS allows it.
Does Letterman play up his status as victim too much, forgetting about the women involved, let alone his family? Or was the scheme so hare-brained — the alleged blackmailer is a producer for the true-crime show “48 hours” — that you can’t help but laugh?
For what it’s worth, adultery is still illegal in New York.