≡ Menu

David Letterman Quotes

David Michael Letterman

David Letterman quotes: on aging, parenting, perspective and more.

“Everyone has a purpose in life.”

“Life experience is the best teacher.”

“It’s very simple.  There’s only one requirement of any of us, and that is to be courageous.  Because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior.  And, I believe – because I’ve done a little of this myself – pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing.”

“Sometimes something worth doing is worth overdoing.”

“The guy in the race who spends more time looking over his shoulder, well, that’s the mistake.”

“Everyday is a compromise.”

“If what you’ve done is stupid but it works, then it really isn’t that stupid at all.”

“Power corrupts.  Absolute power is kind of neat.”

“Nothing, believe me, nothing is more satisfying to me personally than getting a great idea and then beating it to death.”

“Do good things for other people.”

“I have found that the only thing that does bring you happiness is doing something good for somebody who is incapable of doing it for themselves.”

“I wish I hadn’t been so gosh-darn single-minded.  Because when your focus is that tight, you miss a lot of what’s going on around you.”

“My political position is that I’m happy to be alive and in North America.”

“Why we are here: to tremble at the terrible beauty of the stars, to shed a tear at the perfection of Beethoven’s symphonies, and to crack a cold one now and then.”

“There is no off position on the genius switch.”

“Have you seen a copy of Tax Tips for Billionaires?”

“There’s no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting.”

“Do you remember when you found out there was no Santa Claus?  I was so upset I didn’t think I’d be able to do the show.”

“Childhood.  I wish I had something to complain about.”

“I’m so old, and I just love kids now.  They used to scare me.  I didn’t want them because I thought, ‘I have to focus on this ridiculous career, and kids would get in the way.’  And now I realize that was a huge mistake.”

“For the first time since Harry’s been alive, our summer schedule will not be dictated by me.  It will be entirely dictated by what my son wants to do.  And I think that’s pretty good.”

“I’m a wise-ass and a smart-ass, and I always have been.”

“I cannot sing, dance or act; what else would I be but a talk show host?”

“I don’t like stand-up comedy that requires a lot of props.  I really respect people who can walk out onstage alone and with no other tool but their own minds and can make you laugh and maybe even think a little.”

“I got some good news earlier today before the show.  Thanks to Alex Rodriguez, I am no longer the most overpaid disappointment in New York City.”

“Unusual weather for New York City.  Today it was 68 and foggy.  No, wait a minute, that’s me.  I’m sorry, that’s me.”

“I don’t mind being accused of being a bad comedian and I don’t even mind being accused of being a bad talk show host, but I never want to be accused of being an arrogant, pompous showbiz asshole.”

“My greatest fear in life is being dull.  You can be great, you can be awful, but just don’t bother being dull.”

“About half an hour before air time – that’s when I become hyper.  I put everything else out of my mind and just let that nervous energy surge through my body.  I start talking faster and louder.  My confidence comes up.  It’s actually a great feeling.”

“I never knew if the stupider things we did or the more traditional things we did would work.  I didn’t know if the stupid stuff would alienate people.  I didn’t know if the traditional stuff would be more appealing.  And then, when I look back on it now, of course the answer is, you want to do the weird thing.”

“The worst-tempered people I have ever met were those who knew that they were wrong.”

“As I’m trying to recover from quintuple bypass surgery, I’m paranoid that my life is ending.  And then, six weeks after the surgery, I ran for five miles.  So let’s face it, I am a hero.  There’s no two ways of looking at it.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, after what I’ve been through, I am happy just to be wearing clothes that open in the front.”

“[On leaving Late Night] I’ll miss it, desperately.  One of two things: there will be reasonable, adult acceptance of transition.  Or I will turn to a life of crime.”

“I’m just trying to make a smudge on the collective unconscious.”

“For the love of God, folks, don’t try this at home.”

“Privately I think that I’m not really somebody who has a network television show.  Celebrities are other people – Johnny Carson and Sylvester Stallone.  I’m just a kid trying to make a living… is the way I feel.”

Cory Johnson: your momma’s neighbor’s side chick’s last Uber Eats delivery guy’s third-favorite blogger. Here’s how he makes millions of dollars blogging without being bothered.