David Letterman says he stuck around on network television about 10 years too long.
He made that admission during an appearance Thursday on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. Letterman quit in 2015 after 33 years as a late-night host on CBS and NBC, and is beginning his second season on his more leisurely-paced Netflix show.
“That’s not true,” DeGeneres told him.
“Yes, it is true,” Letterman replied. “It turns out nobody had the guts to fire me.”
The 71-year-old Letterman, still in his bushy post-retirement beard, said that you want to make sure you have enough energy for other things in life and, while his talk show was on, he didn’t.
“I had to realize, ‘Oh, I’ve been looking through the wrong end of the telescope,'” he said. “There’s more to life than, ‘Tell us about your pet beaver.'”
DeGeneres quipped: “Who was that guest?”
“Martha Stewart,” Letterman joked.
Letterman was returning a favor, since DeGeneres will be a guest on his Netflix show, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.”