This Wednesday, late night icon and comedic genius, David Letterman will be saying goodbye to audiences from the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, and signing off for good from his talk show, Late Show with David Letterman. As he retires this week, it’s arguably evident that no other late-night host has catapulted such unique wit and humor into the world as efficaciously as Letterman did in his 33 years, while changing the late night landscape forever.
It’s hard to believe that we’re reaching the end of era and saying goodbye to someone as remarkable as Letterman. Between Late Night on NBC (1982 – 1993) and Late Show on CBS (1993 – 2015), Letterman has been the longest serving late night talk show host in television history. Throughout the years, the 68 year-old has proven time and time again that his ironic, sarcastic, and somewhat cranky sense of humor made for solid laughs and memorable evenings that we will never forget.
When the final episode of Late Show airs this Wednesday, Jimmy Kimmel of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, gives his mentor the ultimate tribute by standing down that evening, airing a rerun of his late night talk show as an intentional tip to the man he believes as one of the most influential comedic artists of our generation. In an interview with the New York Times, Kimmel says, “I have too much respect for Dave to do anything that would distract viewers from watching his final show. Plus I’ll probably be crying all day, which makes it hard to work.”
We all might be crying that day. And with David Letterman soon passing his beloved show’s torch to The Colbert Report‘s Stephen Colbert, it would make sense to count it all down, right? After all, Letterman’s Top 10 lists have become household staples and souvenirs in some way for the delighted viewer. Way before anemic lists plagued the Internet and robbed buzzing writers of thoughtful writing, Letterman devised Top 10 lists for gags. In the Fall of 1985, the late night host in a ploy to poke fun at magazines like Good Housekeeping, started a Top 10 list that comprised of useless content. (His first list was “Top 10 Words That Almost Rhyme with Peas.” Oh, it’s a good list.)