david letterman by Joshua Eferighe May 31, 2019
Kanye West is getting more personal about his mental health than ever before and he’s picked former late nite talk show legend, David Letterman, to do so with.
Ahead of the release of West’s episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman today, Letterman, appeared on The View, to promote the intimate Netflix talk show, but to also shed insight on the complex figure that is Kanye West.
“I’m ignorant on this topic of bipolar or schizophrenia. Luckily, I don’t have it. I’m not sure that I know anybody who does have it. But I recognize from my discussion with Kanye that you suffer,” Letterman said in PEOPLE’s exclusive sneak peek of Friday’s episode of the ABC morning talk show.
Letterman also spoke on Kim and she and Kanye work together, despite how challenging his disability is, humanizing the often-times troubled family better than you’ve probably seen anywhere recently.
“The thing that was fascinating to me was his wife Kim, who I knew a little bit more than Kanye, is such a strong advocate. Not only for her family and her husband, but also as we know for prisoner rights and people who have been incarcerated unnecessarily lengthy terms in prison and prisoner rights,” Letterman said of Kardashian West, who has helped inmates seek clemency.
Letterman later added,
“The combination of the two — the energy and dynamic was something I really was not expecting.”
One can make the argument that there’s not hasn’t been a singular individual more scrutinized and under the public eye over the past couple of years than Kanye West.
Sometimes by his own doing and other times as an indirect result from his larger-than-life celebrity, Kanye has gone from musical genius to the problematic prince in a matter of a few outbursts.
Whether infamously stating “slavery was a choice” on TMZ, his on-stage rants, to wearing a MAGA hat, it seems like Kanye has been doing all he can do to undo his historic musical legacy, but, as we later found out, it’s been due to his ongoing battle with mental health.
West was hospitalized for a “psychiatric emergency” in November 2016 just after canceling his Saint Pablo tour, where it was revealed that the had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Last summer’s release of his album Ye — which bore the phrase “I Hate Being Bipolar. It’s Awesome” on the cover — later confirmed the diagnosis.
On the upcoming episode, Letterman gets Kanye to go into what leads up to these rants and where they come from.
“When you’re in this state, you’re hyper-paranoid about everything,” West says during the interview. “Everyone — this is my experience, other people have different experiences — everyone now is an actor. Everything’s a conspiracy. You feel the government is putting chips in your head. You feel you’re being recorded. You feel all these things.”
According to Ye, these feelings are a lot more relatable than their given credit for. Pointing to his brain, Kanye said,
“This is like a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle. And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not going to push on him more.”
Continuing with the ankle analogy, West said, “Once our brain gets to the point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse.”
There have been many, including myself, who has written Kanye off, deeming his actions to reprehensible for redemption, but maybe a more human lens is needed with the now father of four.
At least that’s what Letterman and Kanye are hoping to provide.