The XX Factor

David Letterman’s Bizarre Confession

David Letterman’s confession last night that he has slept with women he works with was a perfect window into the twisted psyche of the comic. (Read Troy Patterson’s excellent close reading here. ) This is why women don’t want to stay married to comedians (the subject of Judd Apatow’s Funny People ). They can’t break form, even in what should be the most shattering and intimate of moments. Even as Letterman is changing our view of him forever he is exactly himself, with his deadpan delivery and self-mockery. There is hardly a moment when you’re totally sure whether he’s joking or not. The audience laughs in the beginning because they think it’s one of his usual routines, but they keep laughing even after he’s made his confession. Because they’re in shock? Because that’s how the relationship works-he makes the jokes, they laugh.

Troy asks: “Say sorry to whom? To his public? Why do we deserve an apology?” We don’t, I guess. Do the women? Who knows; we don’t know anything about what actually happened. But we will hash over endless scenarios involving Letterman the sleazebag predator until he actually says something real. Which, if the comedian stereotype is true, he never will.