Witty, intelligent, genuine: that’s David Letterman in a nutshell. While you’re most likely familiar with him as the former host of The Late Show, some of Letterman’s most ingenious and thought-provoking work has been done nowhere near network television. Instead, you’ll find it on his Netflix Original series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.
The series follows Letterman as he conducts interviews with people he finds interesting and unique. Filmed in front of a live audience, the show has an intriguing twist: the audience is completely oblivious as to Letterman’s guest for that episode.
While the series is worth a full watch, here are the top 5 episodes of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, for anyone looking for a crash course on the show’s best moments.
Lewis Hamilton – Formula One Driver, 5-Time World Champion
Episode 4, Season 2
While Lewis Hamilton is far from a household name, within the racing world he is all some people talk about. Not only has Hamilton—who some refer to as the greatest race car driver of all time—won 95 Formula One races, but he’s also amassed five world championships, 53 fastest laps, and 3,763 career points.
Oh, yeah: and he did it all within just 265 career races.
During his appearance with Letterman, Hamilton discusses how he was introduced to racing and explores what keeps him motivated to continue racing. Along the way, Letterman asks questions pertaining to Hamilton’s early success, training regimen, and relationship with his father.
This episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction is adrenaline-packed and sure to inspire.
Lizzo – Recording Artist, 3-Time Grammy Award Winner
Episode 4, Season 3
Believe it or not, Lizzo started her television performance career on The Late Show back when Letterman was the host. This previous meeting between the two personalities becomes the starting place for this interview.
It then follows Lizzo’s childhood move from Detroit to Houston, the musician’s early years, and her rise to her current platform and success.
The real greatness of this interview radiates from the immediate understanding and respect Letterman and Lizzo seem to have, despite radically different upbringings and backgrounds.
Frequently in the interview, Lizzo and Letterman discuss their mental health, and how maintaining it is the key to making the world a better place.
Kanye West – Recording Artist, 21-Time Grammy Award Winner
Episode 1, Season 2
It seems everywhere Kanye West goes, controversy follows. However, innovation, creativity, and a seemingly endless supply of energy also follow.
The most interesting part of his interview with Letterman? The long format and laidback setting allow West to present a thoughtful, nuanced perspective he’s not known for.
Where sound bites in the past have displayed West as a havoc-wreaking egomaniac, Letterman finds the humanity within West, and allows the creative to express himself fluidly across a diverse stream of topics.
The pair explore West’s “Yeezy” collection, the influence the media has on everyday people, and West’s fight with bipolar depression disorder.
The interview is certainly one of the best episodes of the series.
Barack Obama – 44th President of the United States
Episode 1, Season 1
Starting your new show with an interview with the most recent former POTUS is certainly one of the easiest ways to make headlines.
Barack Obama starts off the series with a bang, sharing what he did after his presidency, and providing his insight on the future of the United States.
During this exhilarating interview, Letterman explores the different sides of Obama, including his influences and role models. The pair proceed to discuss John Lewis, and Letterman visits with the senator in Selma.
Overall, Obama, Lewis, and Letterman present a blueprint that they believe will lead to a hopeful and equal social landscape in the United States.
Dave Chappelle – Stand Up Comedian
Episode 3, Season 3
Arguably, the best episode of My Next Guest is this one, featuring Dave Chappelle. It’s recorded in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where Chappelle lives.
They discuss what the comedian prefers about living in a small town, and why he left The Chappelle Show. They also delve into the States’ ugly history of police brutality against black individuals.
The comedian goes on to express his emotion towards George Floyd’s murder. He eventually states “nights like this, I think are important. Just talking about it. We’re countrymen, all of us. We live in America.”
This interview is diverse, thought-provoking, disheartening, and hilarious all in one.
A Diverse Set of Guests
While these episodes are impressively diverse, the full series highlights an even wider array of notable individuals. Other guests featured on My Next Guest include Kim Kardashein, Robert Downey, Jr., and Melinda Gates.