David Letterman has been a huge influence on the fledgling show business career I’ve had the privilege of enjoying over the past 25 years and I would be remiss not to point out that his retirement is hitting me as hard as Stevie Ray Vaughan’s death in 1990. I have been watching Dave ever since I was old enough to sneak out of my bedroom & flick on the TV after Mom and Dad went to bed. His irreverent & irrepressible sense of humor also resonated with me far more readily than Leno’s or anyone else’s in the late night game. It was like Beatles or Stones, Coke or Pepsi, McDonalds or Burger King. You’re always in either one camp or the other & I found myself forever entrenched in Camp Letterman.
To see Norm Macdonald, who is always a rapscallion, be moved to tears last night paying one final tribute to the genius & legacy of David Letterman really started to drive home the finality of Dave’s retirement. Like Dave, I am ordinarily not one for the mawkish & sentimental but knowing that Dave is not going to be there at 10:35PM each night from Thursday until I die is one of the most poignant mile-markers I feel I will pass in this life. Yes, A.D. (After Dave) 2015 will forever be remembered for me as a major entertainment/cultural shift as the last of a generation of greats finally passes the torch to the next generation of late night talk show hosts. Combined with the recent passing of B.B. King, I feel as though come Thursday morning, I will have effectively aged a bit more than usual and completed the metamorphosis by becoming my parents. Now I’m going to be one of those guys forever dismissing the efforts of all who come after as never quite up to par with what once was.
I have much love for Stephen Colbert & am sure his brilliant wit will make for an engaging Late Show but it just won’t be the same. No one will ever be David Letterman. So I ask you to join me and indeed, probably the majority of America in tuning in these very special last 3 Letterman shows this week. We will be watching HISTORY and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s gonna be as epic as the moon landing or Felix Baumgartner’s jump or the series finale of Honey Boo Boo (okay maybe that’s a stretch). Dave, thanks for the inspiration, the toothy grin & and all the belly laughs you’ve afforded me over the past 33 years.
MONDAY: Tom Hanks & Eddie Vedder
TUESDAY: Bill Murray & Bob Dylan
WEDNESDAY: no announced guests – probably an incredible retrospective with clips & surprise guests.