Today marks David Letterman’s final show. Growing up in Indianapolis, there have been two comedic constants in my life: The Bob and Tom Show (I listen every morning), and David Letterman. I have always thought about what life would be like without one or the other. Now that day has come.
I have always been a Letterman fan. I did enjoy watching Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, but there was something I loved about Dave’s sarcasm, irreverence and pure genius that always held a soft spot in my heart. Lots of people can be funny, tell a joke or hone a monologue. But coming up with Stupid Pet Tricks, a suit made of Velcro and elevating Rupert Jee to “stardom”? That’s once in-a-lifetime.
During the Leno/Letterman days it was an easy choice for me. When Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show, my friends would ask if I had switched to Jimmy. My answer? “No.” I like Jimmy and think he is very talented, but in a different way. He’s a great impressionist and singer, and is very outgoing and social. But my heart will always be with Dave. I’m a sucker for sarcasm and smart stupidity. Plus, I knew he wouldn't be on the air forever. A time would come when he would retire. I had to savor him while he lasted.
While attending the 2014 Final Four in Houston, I had that same thought as I got ready for bed in my hotel room. As customary when I’m at a hotel, I usually stay up a bit later to flip channels and, of course, turn on Letterman. Then I heard the words I had dreaded for years – Dave was retiring in 2015. What!? I had been telling people that for years and now it was reality. Dave really was going off the air! Oh, the humanity!
At first, you live in denial. It won’t really happen. Life goes on as usual. Thanksgiving comes and you guess what pies Dave’s mom made. Christmas is next and you watch Jay Thomas try to knock a meatball off of the top of a Christmas tree and listen, once again, to his Lone Ranger story, the greatest talk show story of all time. In a later show you listen to Darlene Love sing, “Baby Please Come Home.” All is as it should be.
Time gets away from you and it’s April. Oh no! Only a month left! I started taping him every night. I did this several years ago and although it was quite entertaining, it was hard to keep up with every episode. (As you know, I still use a VCR and the tapes pile up rather quickly.) A month, I can do. It’s been extra cool since all the guests have been so great. And now the day has come. I won’t tape the last show – I will watch it live, as it should be watched. I will have tissues handy. I will lose some sleep, but Dave is worth it.
Thank you, Dave. I have enjoyed watching you all of these years. I will miss you and Paul. I wish you happiness in your next endeavors and that you enjoy your time with your family. I hope to see you at the track!