Letterman Trimmed the Beard for Brokaw

To remove that Walt Whitman shadow.

It is a measure of social media’s ubiquitous impact that at one point in the conversation between Verne Gay and Tom Brokaw, the Newsday TV critic asks, simply: ‘How’s Dave’s beard?’

Ahead of this Sunday’s On Assignment interview of Letterman by Brokaw featuring said facial hair (it is the former Late Night host’s first such conversation since retiring), here’s how Brokaw answered:

“The beard was trimmed. He cut it back so that he didn’t look like Walt Whitman… He said the reason he grew it is that from an early age, he had to shave twice a day, in the morning and then before air, and said, ‘I got so damn tired of doing it.’ Nobody else in the family likes it, and his son says it’s creepy. Everyone else complains, but Dave says, ‘it’s just dad.’”

Another intriguing answer from Brokaw picks up on Dave’s suggestion that CBS missed a great opportunity by not hiring a woman to replace him on The Late Show. The NBC newsman explains to Gay that he ran that notion by Sandra Bernhard following his conversation with Letterman, which was taped in Indianapolis during the Indy 500 weekend.

The Brokaw-Letterman interview airs Sunday at 7 p.m. ET as part of Dateline NBC.