If you haven’t seen the video of David Letterman’s retirement announcement, here it is. Watch the whole thing. It’s worth it.
I’m sad to see Dave go, and I’m happy that he’s going out the way he wants. People say Johnny Carson was the greatest late night TV host, but I never could really relate to Carson - he always seemed too cool, too composed, too perfect. The guy drove a fucking white corvette, for fuck’s sake. I became a comedian because I felt like I wasn’t one of those people. I looked weird, I had weird ideas about things. I was a bumbling fool who made things up as I went along. I saw in Dave what I saw in myself, and I loved him for it. Carson floated up in the clouds. Dave was down here with us on the ground. And he was funny.
It saddens me to watch the video above and, as he’s trying to tell a story that’s important to him, have the audience just mindlessly laugh - it doesn’t matter what he’s saying; it’s Dave, Dave is a funny guy, and so the story he’s telling has to be a funny one. This look right here says it all. It says “You assholes have all stopped paying attention.” The audience doesn’t realize that they’re implicit in the crime he’s describing - they’re giving him the same treatment that his wife in the story gave him. To me, that look plainly says “See what’s happening here? This is why I’m retiring.” It’s not that Dave has stopped caring. It’s that everyone else has.
I don’t know if Dave told anyone that he was retiring before he said it on the air. All I know about the man I know from watching his show, but Paul’s “Wait, you really did that?” seemed pretty genuine. And all of a sudden, Dave says he’s retiring. And no one is clapping. And no one is laughing. Except Dave. Because he got you again, motherfuckers. He got you again.
"This is - this is - you actually did this?"
"Yes I did."
What an utterly perfect, honest moment. The master does it again. Thanks for everything, Dave. I cannot WAIT to see what the next year holds for the Late Show. I have a feeling it’ll be some of the greatest television we’ve ever seen… Maybe even as good as the last season of Amish Mafia. MAYBE.