After more than three decades working in late night television, comedy legend David Letterman singed off from the desk last night during his emotional and hilarious “Late Show” finale. While many of his fans were sad to see him go, the man himself didn’t shed a single tear as he fought to make his audience laugh right up to the end.
The comedy icon changed the game of late night television with his sarcastic yet dry sense of humor. Many from the likes of Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel took time out of their shows to bid farewell to the “Late Show” host before he passes the desk along to a new comic in September. With so much emotion and laughter packed into the final show, below is a rundown of the most memorable moments from Letterman’s final episode:
The Walk Out
For years, his band leader Paul Shaffer played Letterman’s opening tune as the comic walked out from behind the curtain to greet his audience for the opening monologue. While there wasn’t that much different about the man taking the stage for the last time, it will sure enough go down in television history. Letterman refused to miss an opportunity to make the crowd laugh and did a light jog across the stage before finally stepping out.
While the walk out was fun, it was just an appetizer for the grand monologue. The 68-year-old host went out to thunderous applause from the crowd. When they finally died down, he began the opener, which dealt heavily with the fact that it would be his last one on “The Late Show.” Luckily, his first joke didn’t disappoint.
“I’ll be honest with you. It’s beginning to look like I’m not going to get ‘The Tonight Show,’” he said, mocking his 1993 switch from NBC to CBS after the former network gave Jay Leno the job instead of him.
The comedian was all smiles and jokes as he absolutely killed it with every moment. He poked fun at his staff, thanked them for the thousands of shows he helped them produce and even managed to do some high concept bits like “Comedy we could have done tomorrow.”
The Final Top 10
It wouldn’t be “The Late Show” without Letterman bringing out at least one more Top 10 list. While the final episode didn’t have any celebrity guest interviews, it was still jam packed with stars including Alec Baldwin, Barbara Walters, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Peyton Manning, Tina Fey and Bill Murray. Each took the stage to read one of the “10 things I’ve always wanted to say to Dave.”
The Passing Of The Torch
It was revealed soon after Letterman announced his retirement that political comedian Stephen Colbert would be dropping his ultra-elitist persona on Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" to become the next host of “The Late Show.” While the night was all about Letterman himself, he did take a moment to pass the torch along to Colbert.
“I’m very excited, I think he’s going to do a wonderful job and I wish Stephen and his staff and crew nothing but the greatest success,” he said. “So let’s look forward to that.”
The Foo Fighters
Letterman closed the show by introducing the Foo Fighters, whom he describes as his favorite band. According to The New York Times, the band played for Letterman in 2000 when he returned to the show after having quintuple-bypass heart surgery. They played the song “Everlong” back then and they returned in full tuxedos to do it for his final farewell. While the band performed live, the screen showed a slideshow of some of the host’s greatest moments throughout his 33 years on television.
Letterman took 12 minutes from the broadcast to give his staff, crew, family, friends, band, Shaffer and, of course, the fans the recognition they deserved. While the professional host didn’t get as emotional as others in his position, he certainly spoke from the heart as he thanked everyone who helped make it possible for him to play in front of the camera all these years. The late night legend wrapped things up with the words that will surely be remembered for years to come:
“Alright, that’s pretty much all I’ve got.”