Letterman Calls It a Night

Letterman Calls It a Night

Seth Montpelier '18, Staff Writer

On May 20, David Letterman will tape his last show. Letterman, who’s been on Late Night for 33 years, is surely one of the most popular hosts in the history of American television. The news was leaked a year ago, so fans have been able to prepare themselves for his departure. But, it will still be difficult to see Letterman end his show, which, while still having the feel of a late night show, was something more.

One of the most famous aspects to Letterman’s career is his Top Ten lists. The lists are always witty and often bizarre. They can range from “Things That Sound Dirty, But Aren’t,” “Bigfoot’s Top Ten Pet Peeves,” “Top Ten Reasons Lois Lane is dumping Superman,” and “Martha Stewart’s Top Ten Worst Tips For Living.” There have also been special lists, such as when Letterman had Rick Perry on after his infamous flub, in which he admitted to forgetting the third point in a three point policy. Perry, of course, was to forget how each thing on the list ended. Letterman has always had interesting guests as well.

David Letterman, like most late night hosts, has many mainstream guests. But, he also has obscure ones. Harvey Pekar, a writer of graphic novels and a notorious curmudgeon, was a frequent guest on the show. He was always a bit grouchy, but he was a hit among fans (until he got into politics in one visit and became a less frequent guest). There was also the frequent guest of Warren Zevon. Zevon was more than a musical guest., he was a friend of Letterman. When Zevon was wrapping up his public life, knowing full well that he had little time left in his life, he made a last visit to Letterman’s show and gave him one of his prized guitars.

This month, Letterman will have guests like Billy Crystal, Michael J. Fox, Michael Keaton, and Jerry Seinfeld. Bill Murray will also be a guest. Murray has frequently visited the show, despite being a famously reclusive (if that’s the right word) person in his later years. Many guests are regulars. Even Oprah Winfrey, who has had a long feud with Letterman in the past, will be making an appearance now that they have buried the hatchet.

David Letterman has quite the legacy for a late night host. Very soon now, Letterman will be retiring and Stephen Colbert will take over the reigns. Very few television figures are as beloved as Letterman, making these final weeks a true event to watch.