The opening episode, featuring Barack Obama, was so mind-numbingly dull that I fell asleep on my living room floor in the middle. I woke up fifteen minutes later and asked my wife what I missed. “Nothing,” she said. While I miss the Obama years as much as any good bourgeois Democrat, he offers nothing but homilies, and Letterman does everything but remove his shoes and kiss his feet. Then, in an interstitial segment, Letterman walks across a bridge in Montgomery with Representative John Lewis. When we return to the Obama interview, Letterman remarks that when John Lewis was a teenager, he was protesting civil rights injustices. Letterman, on the other hand, was getting drunk on a cruise ship with his buddies from Indiana. He clearly feels bad about his misspent youth.

The show should be retitled Dave Letterman’s Cavalcade Of Liberal Guilt. He’s atoning for all his sins, and all of ours. Half of his George Clooney “interview” gets spent discussing Amal Clooney’s human-rights work, and a visit to Clooney’s boyhood home turns into a condescending and strange segment where Letterman goes driving with an Iraqi refugee. Suddenly, at this heavily-bearded stage in his career, Letterman feels like he must make up for a lifetime spent hosting Stupid Pet Tricks, reading Top 10 lists, flirting with Sarah Jessica Parker, and sucking on Jennifer Aniston’s hair. Instead, he talks to Malala about girls’ education in developing countries and lets everyone know that he thinks racism is bad.