REVIEW: About Kanye's Netflix appearance

David Letterman is much more subdued in this show, taking on a Santa-esque guise. Picture: Supplied
David Letterman is much more subdued in this show, taking on a Santa-esque guise. Picture: Supplied

Famous talk show host David Letterman went over to Netflix, and is drawing audiences with big name guests such as Barack Obama and Jay-Z. Rhodé Marshall unpacks another episode, this time with Kanye West.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman

Available on Netflix SA


Let me start off by talking about what most of you will select first when you look at the list of episodes for season two of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. Will you become or stop being a fan of Kanye West after watching this interview? Probably not, but you’ll rethink how you analyse the utterings of the controversial rapper.

The two discuss various topics, including Kanye’s relationship with his parents, his family, music and his mental health. But it’s his comments on the #MeToo movement that will leave you pondering about an artist whose thoughts in his former music made everyone listen, compared with his latter rants.

This show consists of interviews with one guest per episode both inside – with an audience – and outside a studio.

Netflix and other streaming services have gained viewers mainly through binge-worthy programming that doesn’t have an expiration date, therefore out of the many genres the streaming service offers, talk shows are a limited option. The Letterman show for the past two seasons has received a lot of attention thanks to celebrity guests such as Barack Obama, Jay-Z, Ellen DeGeneres and others who usually shy away from interviews. If you were a fan of the Late Show with David Letterman, which ended in 2015, perhaps like me you’d be glad to know that the host has a more sincere demeanour than the chaotic or what some would positively call a no-holds-barred, back-and-forth style. At the same time one can say he’s become monotonously deferential with his questions and opportunities to probe guests. Basically the talk show is consistently “un-Dave” and we watch a kind Santa-esque old man being submissive to people who only somewhat deserve it.

Back to Mr West, who is notorious for his controversial opinions. Near the end of Kanye’s interview with Letterman, the two discuss the #MeToo movement and it’s clear that they definitely aren’t on the same page.

West brings up “the fear” he feels powerful men have been faced with since the #MeToo movement began and takes issue with the idea that these men are supposedly wondering: “What did I do over the past 30 years of my life?”, to determine if they’ve behaved inappropriately.

Letterman respectfully responds while making his opposing point clear: “Well, you mention a general fear of the male side of this situation. I would submit that it’s not equal by any equation to the fear women feel being the other side of that,” which is met with cheers and shouts from the audience.

“I’m definitely supportive of the women,” West clarifies. “What I’m saying is we’re not allowed to have any conversation. When you go to court, both sides can talk. This is a court of public opinion. [There’s an idea] that when someone bombs first, the war is supposedly over.”

Kanye, known to respond instead of understanding the question or anyone else’s statement but his own, should have been told that men have chosen to exclude themselves from the conversation, and instead chose to derail conversations to selfishly voice their fear of having to examine their behaviour.

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