HOLLYWOOD—It’s hard to believe that after more than 30 years of hosting his own nightly talk show the “Late Show with David Letterman,” the comedian is retiring. On Wednesday, May 20, Letterman said farewell to the TV world from the acclaimed Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City for one final time.
Nowadays the dueling late night talk shows go for hi-jinks compared to what Letterman, Jay Leno and Johnny Carson did back in the day. For years Leno and Letterman did battle in the ratings circuit, where there were those die hard fans of Letterman and than those die hard fans of Leno. There have been reports of bad blood between the two, as many expected Letterman to take over hosting duties for “The Tonight Show” on NBC after Johnny Carson retired in 1992, but NBC’s choice to go with Leno, led Letterman to departure to CBS with his own gig.
If one had to compare Letterman’s style of comedy, I would call it more laid back, a tad more professional than one would expect. His goal was to converse with his guests and bring laughs in a way that did not necessitate gags or ploys. If you compare Letterman to the likes of Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and James Corden, gags are needed to keep the audience tuning in. David never relied on gags; a notable signature in his talk show was his Top 10 which was read at times by celebrity guests.
His rooster of celebrity guests reaches gargantuan levels. From Oprah Winfrey, to Bill Clinton, to Denzel Washington to Julia Roberts, if you name the star, there is a strong possibility they’ve had a seat next to Letterman to discuss a film, a TV show or something of significance to the rest of America. Wednesday’s show saw Letterman getting a salutary hoorah from President Barack Obama, as well as former presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who ironically, all were in the oval seat during Dave run on late night TV.
Wednesday’s final show was full of surprises for the host, as he was treated to appearances from some of his famous friends including Bill Murray, Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfeld to name a few. I never thought the Top 10 list was all that funny, but this episode took the cake as Alec Baldwin, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Murray himself took shots at things they “Always Wanted to Say to Dave.” Very funny moments to say the least!
It was a special moment towards the end of the show, where the host took the time to really pay tribute to those who made his show what it has become today. This is why Dave is such a class act; he didn’t rush to thank all those people who worked behind the scenes, he took his time, and gave them the kudos they so deserved. This is a guy who was not afraid to say, “I’m a little talented, but these people are even far more talented.”
As the episode came to a close, I was almost certain the host would begin to lose a bit of composure, but he kept it cool. The Foo Fighters rocked out the stage as the Late Show with David Letterman officially came to a close with their performance of the song “Everlong.” And just like that a comedy legend has signed off for the final time. Mr. Letterman you will indeed be missed!