And so it finally happened: the man who despite of—or perhaps because of—his own depressive nature and personal demons united millions of people through his small screen antics has departed from TV.
But, seriously, that’s enough about Don Draper. How was David Letterman’s last show?
Predictably, the answer is, it was both wonderful and, for the diehard Letterman fan, pretty darned hard to watch—a mix that was established right from the very start. Watching Letterman literally sprint across the stage as the show opened, you couldn’t help but think, “It’s nice that Dave is leaving when he is still in command of all his faculties.” But you also couldn’t help but think, “If Dave is still in command of all his faculties, why the hell is the big galoot leaving at all?”
But leave he did and in a manner which, regardless of an extremely starry finale guest list, reminded you that Letterman was always more interested in making comedy than making celebrity pals.
Check back for a proper review of the last-ever Late Show with David Letterman. But, for now, here is a Top Ten list of our own…
Top Ten Bitter-Sweet Things About David Letterman’s Last Show
10. A videotaped Barack Obama saying “Our long national nightmare is over. Letterman is retiring.”
9. Dave saying “It’s beginning to look like I’m not going to get the Tonight Show.”
8. The segment “Comedy we could have done tomorrow” whose bits-we-will-never-see included “Mike Huckabee’s face on a thing.”
7. The vintage footage of Dave talking to a kid about Lucky Strike cigarettes. (Maybe he is Don Draper, after all.)
6. “Top Ten Things I’ve Always Wanted to Say to Dave” read by, among others, Alec Baldwin (“Of all the talk shows, yours is most geographically convenient to my home”), Chris Rock (“I’m just glad your show is being given to another white guy”) Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Thanks for letting me take part in another hugely disappointing series finale”), and Bill Murray (“I’ll never have the money I owe you”).
5. Dave saying, “We’ve done 6,000 shows, and I was here for most of them, and I can tell you, a pretty high percentage of those shows just absolutely sucked”—and probably meaning it.
4. Dave thanking the crew, the band, his family, and the viewers—and definitely meaning it.
3. The Foo Fighters performing “Everlong,” the same track they played on Letterman’s first show after returning from heart surgery in 2000.
2. The retrospective montage of videos and photographs which accompanied the band’s performance and which virtually concluded with an image of Letterman, Oprah Winfrey, and Jay Leno. (A shoutout to an old friend or a middle-finger to the man who got the job Dave always believed should have been his? We guess it will be a while before anyone gets the chance to ask.)
1. “Alright, that’s pretty much all I got. The only thing I have left to do, for the last time, on a television program—thank you, and goodnight.”