Goodbye to a late-night legend!
After more than 30 years in late-night TV, David Letterman signed off from CBS's Late Show, which he had hosted since 1993, for the last time on May 20. The weeks leading up to his goodbye have been star-studded and the final three episodes were no exception, featuring the likes of Tom Hanks, Eddie Vedder, Bob Dylan, and a very lively Bill Murray.
Letterman’s final show was an expectedly lighthearted and self-deprecating look back at the comedian’s late-night tenure, culminating in a performance from one of his favorite bands.
The show opened with a montage of Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama quoting their predecessor Gerald Ford: “Our long national nightmare is over,” which set a playful tone for the evening. Running across the Ed Sullivan Theater stage before he made his final ever walk toward his audience, Letterman was met with a standing ovation that lasted several minutes and with the audience chanting his name.
Played onto the stage by his longtime musical director and band leader Paul Shaffer one last time, Letterman started off his monologue by poking fun at the great late-night war saying, “It’s beginning to look like I’m not going to get The Tonight Show.” He went on to joke about his poor eyesight, his age, and what he would do next, joking that he and Shaffer are going to be starting their own Vegas show with a white tiger in a few weeks.
A star-studded final Top 10 list featured everyone from Julia Louis-Dreyfus to a bearded Jim Carrey. The episode also featured some classic moments from Late Show history, perhaps most famously the clip of Letterman working at Taco Bell drive-thru in 1996, a famous moment from the show’s history. It featured him interacting with customers; pestering them and offering fake promotions and difficult service. His goofiness and quick wit were on full display on his final night, this moment was a great reminder of why we’ve tuned in year after year.
Things got fully emotional as the hour wound down. Letterman ended the episode by thanking his crew, showing clips from various segments over the years, and thanking wife Regina and son Harry, who looked adorably nervous as the audience gave them a standing ovation. When the comedian thanked his band, Shaffer told Letterman, “You’ve changed our lives and we’ve loved every second of it!”
The show closed with the Foo Fighters, who played Letterman’s favorite song, “Everlong” — the same one they played in 2000 when he returned from heart surgery. Before introducing the band, Letterman said a simple good night and thank you with a big smile on his face.
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