David Letterman tributes from Tina Fey, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Fallon, and more
David Letterman’s celebrity devotees have spent the past week or so paying tribute to the Late Show (and former Late Night) host—sort of like Taylor Swift’s #BadBloodMusicVideo rollout, but with comedy heavyweights and iconic musicians. In no particular order, here’s a Top 10 list of the most notable Letterman tributes we’ve seen so far:
On Monday’s Tonight Show, Fallon thanked Letterman by calling his career “33 years of innovation, fun, and just plain weirdness… but mostly fun.”
The comedian performed stand-up on Late Show before getting serious at the end of his routine to wish Letterman a fond farewell. “Mr. Letterman is not for the mawkish, and he has no truck for the sentimental,” he said. “If something is true, it is not sentimental. And I say in truth, I love you.”
With The Daily Show off the week Late Show ends, Stewart got in his tribute early. “He was, for me, and I think many comics of my generation, an incredible epiphany of how a talk show or how entertainment or how television could…,” the host said last Thursday, then paused. “For God’s sake, the man put a camera on a monkey.”
Kimmel not only promised he wouldn’t air a new episode the night of Letterman’s last show, but also penned a letter in TIME to honor Letterman, describing how he grew up on late nights watching Letterman’s show. “For me, Late Night With David Letterman wasn’t just a show,” he wrote. “It was a problem.” Then, Tuesday night, he paid tribute to his hero with the video above, including shots of himself with his Late Night-themed 16th birthday cake. Aww.
The Late Show musical guest and Pearl Jam singer played a version of “Better Man” for the retiring host, with the help of Paul Shaffer and the rest of the house band.
Sandler also went the musical route, singing a tribute song for the host on Late Show. “There simply is no better man than good ol’ David Letterman,” he crooned. “And no one gets Julia Roberts’ face redder than a flirty David Letterman.”
Grohl spoke to EW about Letterman’s impact on the Foo Fighters’ career. “I love Letterman—his wit, and sarcasm,” he said. “I related to him.” Grohl will also appear on Letterman’s final show Wednesday night.
Romano thanked the host in an emotional Late Show appearance, both for letting him do stand-up on Letterman’s show in 1995, and for producing his sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.
Fey, on the other hand, embraced Letterman’s exit by pulling a stunt that involved her shedding her fancy dress and handing it straight to him. She also wrote a message for him on her “special underwear,” because why not?
O’Brien wrote a love letter to Letterman in EW, waxing poetic on the beloved host. “Not one single writer/perfomer in the last 35 years has had Dave’s seismic impact on comedy,” he explained. “In today’s world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not.”
As one of the final musical guests on Late Show, Dylan performed a melancholy rendition of “The Night We Called It a Day” for Letterman. And Letterman approved, calling the performance “beautiful” after it ended.
Lane went for an original song on Late Show, with lyrics that poked fun at how he and his friend Letterman are both, well, “dead inside.” Because, you see, the two could care less about… everything. And yet, here’s Lane taking the time to put together an original song for Letterman. We wager he does care, at least about one thing.
Of course Crystal also used his pipes to bid his friend goodbye on Late Show, singing a version of “Sunrise, Sunset” that traced the memorable moments from Letterman’s late-night career.
Murray’s Late Show tribute began with food: He popped out of a giant cake, offering pieces to the audience (and Paul Shaffer, of course). It continued with him finally sitting down with Letterman to talk while still covered in frosting, admitting that he and Letterman’s fans just wanted more, before leading the studio audience to chant for Letterman to stick around.
Meyers did things a little differently—differently than his own show’s usual opening, that is. He paid homage to Letterman’s Late Night opening by recreating it shot for shot before his own show, right down to the upbeat music, the witty voiceover, and the shots of neon signs around New York. (The original Letterman opening can be found here.)
And finally, check out EW’s retrospective video of Late Show With David Letterman, featuring interviews with comedians like Nick Kroll, Eric Andre, Ben Schwartz, and others, for even more trips down memory lane.
Late Show With David Letterman