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May 6th, 2009
01:10 PM ET

My evening with an icon

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/06/gupta.letterman2.jpg]

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

As far back as I can remember, I have watched David Letterman on late-night TV. I was a high school freshman when I first started watching him regularly, much to the dismay of my parents given the late hour of the show. During college, it was during his show that you would find the students gathered in the lounge waiting for the “stupid human trick” or his signature Top 10 list. I always felt he was at his best when the topic material was slightly more serious, and there was somehow comfort in watching this funny man offering a little comfort. I was always amazed at how effortlessly he navigated an interview, even the difficult ones with Cher many years ago and more recently with Joaquin Phoenix. In New York City, I always enjoyed walking by the Ed Sullivan theater, wondering what it was like inside.

Well, last night I got a chance to get a real insider’s look. Letterman invited me to be on his show, and I took him up on it. Suffice it say that I never dreamed I would be sitting on that stage with this icon, and there was no question I was nervous. It started with a pre-interview call with one of David’s producers, Matt Roberts. He was terrific and he had clearly done all of his homework. He recited facts about my career I had forgotten, and talked me through the whole structure of the show. Letterman primarily wanted to talk about swine flu, but warning: The conversation could really go anywhere. “Have a conversation with David, and don’t worry about the audience,” was Matt’s final piece of advice.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Nick

    I think Letterman puts his pants on just like the rest of us regular people........

    May 6, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  2. Leah

    I too love David Letterman and have been a fan since I was in high school. Dave is to me what Johnny Carson is to my parents.

    May 6, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  3. Stacy

    Hi Sanjay. Thanks for the backstory. You were great on the show. I assumed you were nervous (who wouldn't be?), but the viewer couldn't tell. Also? As I said in my earlier tweet, you looked very dapper.

    May 6, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  4. lisa maysonet

    To me you are the David Letterman of journalism. Enjoy your work

    May 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  5. supergirllondon@twitter

    I bet Letterman thought that HE was with an icon....great show Sanjay 🙂

    May 6, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  6. Lilibeth

    Dr. Sanjay, I’m sorry, but I missed this interview. Can 360 please post a video? Thanks.

    Lilibeth

    May 6, 2009 at 1:37 pm |