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Everything You Need To Know About Parenting In 10 David Letterman Quotes

David Letterman is a habitual rule breaker. He smashed comedic conventions, shattered the late night talk show format, and continued to ask “Will it float?” despite many letters begging him to kill the bit. It makes sense then, that the wry king of late night entertainment did parenting a bit differently, becoming an “old” father at the age of 56 when his partner of nearly 30 years gave birth to their son, Harry. Now, the man who once put a camera on a monkey spends his days in sweet retirement, devoting all his time to his other true calling: being a dad (and growing a don’t-give-a-damn beard) Here’s some of Letterman’s sagest advice on the fine art of fatherhood.

david letterman show 1980

On Being “Old Dad”
“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.”

On Food Fights
“With me and my son, if it was a stranger, there’d be a fistfight. But because it’s my son, the next thing you know, we’re having meatballs.”

On The Truth Behind Courage
“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.”

On His Tiny Social Director
“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.”


On His Key To Happiness
“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.”

On Having A Come-To-Jesus Moment
“Believe me, I’m not the first person to have a kid, but I’ll tell you what got my attention. When they’re able to put the monitor on the scalp, the skull of the baby and for the first time you hear the heartbeat. Oh buddy, then you know you’re in church. It’s the real deal then.”

On Being Right About Being Wrong
“The worst-tempered people I have ever met were those who knew that they were wrong.”

david letterman waving at camera

On Dealing With The Idea Of Doo Doo
“I’m too old for any of this, but especially that … Maybe it’s just me being a ninny, but for the 6 months I just wake up like this – OH MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE?! But I’m sure that will pass.”

On Skills That Go Hand-In-Hand
“Next in importance to having a good aim is to recognize when to pull the trigger.”

On His Biggest Regret
“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.”