Watching Jimmy Kimmel interview David Letterman last night was sort of like seeing a space-obsessed teenager interview Neil Armstrong in 1970. Kimmel’s vast admiration for the late night vet is no secret — he’s spoken often about how Letterman inspired him to pursue a career in television. Dave-love even drove a teenage Kimmel to get a vanity license plate that read “L8 NITE” — and to have a Late Night-themed cake at his 18th birthday party.
Put simply, Letterman is Kimmel’s idol. And accordingly, Kimmel spent most of the interview half-joking about how badly he wants to be Letterman’s best friend. Over the course of 18-ish minutes, Kimmel did his best to convince Letterman that they share common interests and invited the famously curmudgeonly comedian to join him for several activities — fly fishing, barbecuing, a party “just [for] the two of us.”
And Letterman — who freely admits that he doesn’t really have friends, since “people don’t like [him]”– took the whole thing in stride. The Late Night host tossed out a self-deprecating remark every time Kimmel praised him, occasionally lobbing back a few genial barbs without ever outright calling Kimmel creepy. At the end of the interview, Dave even brought up Jimmy’s upcoming move to 11:35 p.m. and gave the new competition his blessing. “I think you’re going to be perfect at 11:30,” he said sincerely, before ending on a joke: “You and everybody who have worked so hard here, at… whatever time you’re on now.” It was all Kimmel could do to resist enveloping his hero in a big bear hug.
The interview’s been split into five parts; here are the first few, in which Kimmel tries to contain his glee and Letterman tells a funny story about visiting his young son’s “kindygarten” class. Check out the rest via Kimmel’s YouTube page, but be forewarned — these two were too busy talking about each other to make a single Leno joke.