David Letterman has had a long, illustrious career in late night television — but he actually wishes he had cut it a little shorter.
Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Showon Thursday, Letterman, 71, reflected on his many years of hosting, which began in 1982 withLate Night with David Lettermanon NBC and ended 33 years later with theLate Show with David Lettermanon CBS in 2015.
“Here’s the mistake I made — I stayed on television way too long,” he told Ellen DeGeneres, 61.
“That’s not true,” she said.
“Yes, it is true,” he insisted. “And I’ll tell you what happened: It turns out, nobody had the guts to fire me. I should have left like, 10 years ago. You want to make sure you have some energy to direct towards other things. Now you, nothing but energy, are doing other things while you’re on television, so that’s great. I did not.”
“All I cared about was myself and then the show was gone so I had to realize,oh, I’ve been looking through the wrong end of the telescope. There is more to life than, ‘So tell me about your pet beaver,'” he continued.