“It’s beginning to look like I’m not going to get the Tonight Show,” joked David Letterman.
And with that the King of Late Night Television began his last ever show, bringing the curtain down on 33 years on air.
Letterman’s last show was a mix of nostalgia, celebrity, oddities and heartfelt thanks.
US ratings sent the show to a 21 year high.
There was no guest interview. Instead his Top Ten featured the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Barbara Walters, Tina Fey, Steve Martin and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. He showed us clips of kids saying funny stuff, a behind-the-scenes peek at Production and presidents George H and George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all remarking, “Our long national nightmare is over.” Apologies to Watergate.
There were even clips from The Simpsons and Wheel of Fortune.
Foo Fighters were the last musical act on the show, performing Everlong.
“We’ve done over 6,000 shows, and I was there for most of them, and I can tell you a pretty a high percentage of those shows absolutely sucked,” he joked. “In light of all this praise, deserved or not, save a little of it for my funeral.”
Leter he said, “People come up to me all the time and say, ‘I have been watching you since that morning show,'” Letterman said, addressing his loyal fans. “And I say, ‘Have you thought about a complete psychological workup?'”
Of the Ed Sullivan Theater he recalled, “It was a dump… crawling with rats—big rats.” He thanked CBS President Les Moonves and Biff Henderson, crew and writers. He named each member of his band before longtime friend, Paul Shaffer and introduced wife Regina, son Harry and even a shout-out to Harry’s friend Tommy.
To his family he added, “And really, nothing else matters, does it?”