Late Show host David Letterman recently announced in a poignant on-air interview that he would be retiring from the late night game. The scheduling change won’t take place until 2015, but now is still a great time to start putting tributes together for the late night host. This week, Fox’s long-running comedy The Simpsons offered up a couch gag for Letterman, and we promise there is something poetic about the veteran animated series paying tribute to the veteran host.
In the gag, the Simpson family is on the way to a TV show taping when they are bogged down first by traffic and then by a street vendor hellbent on making money with crooked card tricks. Homer Simpson gets caught up with the card man, making the family late for the big TV event. The whole gag is a riff on Letterman’s series of “stupid tricks” segments, as well as the man’s wry sense of humor and favored observational comedy. As the family runs onstage, the late night host remarks, “That's it? We flew you out here and put you up for that!?” before cutting to his band man Paul Shaffer, who begins playing The Simpsons theme song.
It’s an amusing little gag clip from a show that has been known to put out some great little couch tributes in the past. I like that this one is more of a fitting and poignant hat tip than one that inspires ridiculous full-belly laughs. It also fits Letterman’s on-air personality to a tee. Finally, it closes with a simple and touching tribute to the man.
The Simpsons put together a slew of humorous but often surprisingly emotional couch gags each year. In recent months, we’ve seen a holiday gag, a tribute to Marcia Wallace, who voiced Mrs. Krabappel on the show, and a “Treehouse of Horror” gag from Guillermo del Toro.
Letterman has served on the air for 33 years, having hosted programs on both NBC and CBS. We still have a few more months until the man quits for good, but in the meantime, it already feels a little like the end of an era. Here’s to hoping the next few months of Letterman’s interviews will leave a few more lasting memories. And if you haven’t caught the official video announcing Letterman’s retirement, you should really get on that, right now.