There is no real difference between being a sports fan and being a comedy nerd, save for the solitary method of appreciating the former and the wide social acceptance of the latter. Yes, they’re exactly the same with the same penchant for strong opinions and abundant passion — which is why David Letterman‘s retirement feels like Michael Jordan’s first and second retirement and Derek Jeter’s last game. Only it’s more impactful because of the many ways that Letterman altered his “sport.” If football had been played on a 50-yard field with a limit on how many points a team can score in one game before one gap-toothed man made the field bigger and trashed those restrictive rules purely with the way he played the game, then we’d be talking about a one for one comparison, but that kind of thing doesn’t happen in sports. That kind of sweeping change doesn’t happen anywhere, but it happened in comedy thanks to David Letterman. And that’s why grown men are crying and why the world is taking notice.
Over the last few days, we’ve cut up David Letterman’s 33-year career into slices, serving up his achievements to our readers for their enjoyment while also stirring memories of our own personal connection to his career. So, just hours away from Letterman’s final episode, it seemed right to share those favorite moments with you, and we do hope that you share yours with us in the comment section.
Before we get to the group, though, I’d like to start with my own favorite moment even though I could list about 100 of them. But in the interest of not doing that, how about we start at the very beginning with Calvert DeForest (aka Larry “Bud” Melman) paying tribute to Frankenstein and Letterman.
These are the first words that came from Late Night with David Letterman:
“We are about to unfold a show featuring David Letterman. A man of science who sought to create a show after his own image without reckoning upon God. It’s one of the strangest tales ever told. I think it will thrill you, it may shock you. It might even horrify you. So if any of you feel that you don’t care to subject your nerves to such a strain… well… we warned you.”
Truer words have never been spoken. Weirdness and originality had found a home on late night television and you’re damn right it thrilled us.