David Letterman’s final Late Show episode was a star-studded, heartfelt celebration of the host’s last 33 years in late night television, and Dave saved his emotional goodbye for the very end, right before introducing his final musical guest, The Foo Fighters.
Dave began his last sign-off by addressing the massive outpouring of support from fans and former guests, saying, “The last six weeks it’s been crazy. People have been saying lovely thing about us, and it’s really been over the top. And I can’t tell you how flattering, embarrassing and gratifying it has all been.”
“I have two things to say about all this,” Dave continued. “We have done over 6,000 shows… and I can tell you, a pretty high percentage of those shows absolutely sucked. And, also, in light of all of this praise, merited or not, do me a favor – save a little for my funeral.”
Letterman went on to share a story about the history of The Late Show studio, the legendary Ed Sullivan Theater, and the CBS execs who made the show possible – including CBS president Les Mooves, who Dave thanked for the years of support.
While David didn’t cry, or even get too choked up, it was clear that the gravity of the evening began to settle as he thanked his dedicated crew. From his producers, to the writers, and then the iconic Late Show band.
Dave took special time to thank his long-time band leader Paul Shaffer, calling Paul “my good, good friend, as good a friend as you can have on television and as good a friend as you can have in life, [and] absolutely a musical genius.”
David also thanked his wife Regina and his 11-year-old son Harry, who were sitting in the audience.
“I want to thank my family: my wife, Regina and my son Harry. Thank you. Just seriously, thank you for being my family,” Dave said, smiling. “I love you both and really nothing else matters, does it?”
David also took the time to thank his devoted fans, who have watched him night after night for more than three decades.
“I want to thank the folks at home. You know, people come up to me all the time and say, ‘I have been watching you since that morning show!’ And I always say, ‘Have you ever thought about a complete psychological work-up?’ To the people who watch this show, there is nothing I can ever do to repay you. Thank you for everything, you’ve given me everything, and thank you again.”
To introduce the Foo Fighters, Dave shared a story about the time he wanted to book the band to play his first show back, after having to step away from The Late Show desk to have emergency heart surgery.
One Foo Fighters song in particular had given Dave a lot of comfort during his time in recovery, and he wanted to have the band play that song to commemorate his return. The only problem was, the Foo Fighters were on tour in South America at the time.
But, just for Dave, the cancelled their tour to play The Late Show. “Happily, ever since, we’ve been joined at the hip. God bless you gentlemen,” Dave said, waving to the band. “Thank you very much.”
And then it was time for Dave to sign off one last time.
“Alright. That’s pretty much all I got,” Dave said, stoically. “The only thing I have left to do, for the last time on a television program: thank you, and good night.”