David Letterman will exit the late night stage on May 20, leaving a long and impressive legacy at both CBS with The Late Show and NBC with Late Night. There’s also his Cabin Boy appearance, which should not be dismissed.
In his time, Letterman has doubtlessly influenced all who have followed him, but while most exalted figures would get a spectacular send-off, it seems that Letterman’s will be a low-key affair, according to Variety.
David Letterman is readying an exit from his latenight perch at CBS’ “Late Show” that will play down they hype associated with the event, according to people familiar with the matter, and instead focus on his work on the program he has broadcast for decades.
Not sure what “play down” means within the context of Letterman’s last episodes. Perhaps it just means that Dave won’t endure a publicity tour to call attention to his last moments on the air, though that isn’t exactly shocking, and one wouldn’t really be necessary because the media will surely supply a ton of buzz prior to the event.
What will the event look like, though? The guests that will stop by over the next six weeks include George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, Julia Roberts, Robert Downey, Jr., Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, Jack Hanna, and Scarlett Johansson. Some of those names are significant with regard to their history with Letterman, like Oprah, Stern, Hanks (who was the last guest on the NBC program), and Hanna, while others are just big names.
Will any of them make it to the last episode? There’s no word right now, but Bill Murray is a sentimental favorite to take up a spot beside Dave as he says goodbye because he was his first guest on NBC and CBS, and one of the most memorable guests throughout. Jay Leno is also someone that people would love to see stop by due to both his and Letterman’s long “feud” and the on-air history between them.
More than any guest, though, I do hope to see Letterman’s entire career — both Late Night with David Letterman and The Late Show — celebrated in any retrospectives that air and/or with some kind of online celebration of Letterman’s time like we saw when Conan hit 20 years in late night. That way, people can fully appreciate the expanse of Letterman’s genius.