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David Letterman’s final episode was last night, and while the majority of people are focusing on the star-studded final Top 10 list, I can’t get over the beautiful montage that served as his final moments. Set to the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”, it highlights Dave’s incredible late show career, an army of guests and many of the show’s iconic moments. Check it out…
This is why David Letterman is so wonderful. Right here. He never seemed like he wanted to be a star. Instead, he just seemed like a really funny guy who got a television show and served as our mouthpiece. If Paris Hilton showed up after her stint in jail, he was going to ask about jail because by God, that was more interesting than her perfume line. If a little kid said something hilarious and took the spotlight away from Dave, he was going to let the little kid have his moment. He had no visibile ego or agenda to push. He was just Dave, normal guy from Indiana who was funnier than us and happened to have his own talk show, and he was going to do whatever he wanted with that time. Like pick the Foo Fighters as his final musical guest.
That’s another sneaky great part about this final video. David Letterman could have had pretty much any musical guest for his final show. I can’t think of anyone alive who wouldn’t have shown up, and yet, he picked Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters. Obviously, they’re a huge band, but they’re not Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney or Paul Simon or Justin Timberlake. In the end, he picked his guys, the ones that meant something to him, and he did that throughout his entire career. He brought on so many stand-up comedians and so many performers, not for ratings but because he wanted to have them around. Niche singer-songerwriter Warren Zevon is a great example. When Warren Zevon was diagnosed with terminal cancer, David Letterman dedicated the entire hour to him. He played some music, and they just talked about life, leading to Zevon’s brilliant and memorable “Enjoy every sandwich” advice.
David Letterman wasn’t the most popular late night host for most of his run, but he was the one that influenced the most comedians. He changed the way other brilliant minds looked at comedy, and outside of perhaps Saturday Night Live, his two shows changed the face of television more than any other laughers. Without Dave, television would be different. It would be a little less goofy, a little less cynical and yes, even a little less funny. No one will ever be able to replace the influence he had on multiple generations, but given all the incredible tributes over the past few weeks, at least the new generation of late night talent will always carry him in their hearts.
We’ll miss you, Dave. You put us to bed for 33 years, and you deserve all the happiness in the world in your retirement.