What can I say about David Letterman that hasn’t already been said? We all love the guy and for a comedy nerd like me, he is truly nothing less than a godsend. I don’t think there’s any other way of putting it.
I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to say about David Letterman for the last couple of weeks. I’ve watched a lot of Dave and I’ve tried to collect my thoughts and nothing substantial has hit. I haven’t had a huge epiphany, but maybe that’s the point.
Like Conan O’Brien said in his piece in Entertainment Weekly, Dave made such a seismic shift in comedy that it’s taken a long time to realize what he did. Seriously, it’s taking some the last couple weeks of his historic run to comprehend the fact that Dave literally changed the game.
All of these weird bits that you see on Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel and Conan and James Corden and a million other shows can all be traced back to Letterman in some way, shape or form. Dave was a pioneer with a gap in his teeth like the true pioneers students read about in textbooks.
The Top Ten List is the most simplistic of a comedy bit, but it’s still comedy gold. Absolute gold. Ten jokes about one certain topic and some lists bombs, but some lists, oh my God, were hit out of the park, that park being Yellowstone.
I’ve said before that Craig Ferguson was my generation’s David Letterman which is a big statement to make, but I think the last few weeks of Letterman have proved their similarities even more. Ferguson ran a show that hated show business and so has Dave, but he hasn’t let that really show until late. Some of the best stuff Dave has done has been in recent weeks using the tactic that made Ferguson great for years, too.
I wish I could focus more on Dave because his career deserves that attention, but he still amazes me to this day that I still can’t wrap my head around it. It’ll never fully sink in for me that Brett Favre played for the Vikings and I’ll never fully comprehend what Dave Letterman and Paul Schaffer have done for me.
A million people don’t want Dave to leave and you can count me in that million, but it really did take his leaving to show us what we are missing. Stephen Colbert is going to bring a totally different package, but I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll do the Late Show name justice.
I guess what I really want to say to David Letterman is thank you. Thank you for being a great comedian and always being on at 10:35 central right after the local news. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for showing me that being a goofball is totally acceptable and cool. Thank you for paving the way for Midwestern kids to make it in show business. Thank you for doing my favorite Super Bowl commercial with Jay Leno. Thank you for changing the game.
Thank you for being my Carson.