David Letterman’s departure from “The Late Show” is a difficult thing for many of his fans and colleagues to wrap their heads around. As it turns out, fellow late night host Jimmy Kimmel is having an especially difficult time saying goodbye to his comedy hero.
On Tuesday night's episode “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the 47-year-old host took some time out of his ABC broadcast to announce that he’ll be airing a rerun during Letterman’s final episode Wednesday. While holding back tears, Kimmel encouraged everyone to not watch his show on Wednesday, but to tune in to CBS instead, especially young viewers.
Letterman has been behind the desk at CBS since 1993, but he’s been a late night personality since 1982 – when he was brought on by NBC as the host of “Late Night,” the show currently run by Seth Meyers. Apparently, Kimmel and his cadre of friends were sitting in front of the screens every night the entire time (via TVLine).
“It was a lot like ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,’ in that they’d have guests and an audience and a band… but it was weird,” Kimmel said in the video below. “Even though it looked like every other talk show, it wasn’t. It was totally original, primarily because the host of the show — who, a lot of the time, seemed embarrassed to even be there — did not seem like a part of show business. He was uncomfortable, he never pretended to be excited and his way of saying things was so subtle that, a lot of the time, the people he was talking to didn’t know he was joking.”
Kimmel went on to discuss how he and his friends would get together throughout his youth to watch Letterman every night they could. Little did he know at the time that he was really doing homework for his future career.
“The only reason I have this show is because the executives at ABC saw me on Dave’s show and hired me for this show,” an emotional Kimmel said. “So I want thank Dave, his writers and producers.”
Kimmel wasn’t the only one to honor the “Late Show” host. “Tonight Show” star Jimmy Fallon recently offered the comedy legend a similar tribute during his show.
Meanwhile, Letterman’s penultimate episode ended with a surprise visit and protest by comedy legend Bill Murray as well as a musical performance by the incomparable Bob Dylan. The latter of the two made his first TV appearance in two decades to play the host off with a cover of the 1940s Frank Sinatra hit “The Night We Called It A Day,” according to Deadline.
Check out Kimmel’s fond farewell to David Letterman in the below video. After that, tune in for Letterman’s final show Wednesday at 11:35 p.m. EDT on CBS.