Why David Letterman’s final show was an underwhelming disappointment

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

David Letterman farewell: ‘You’ve given me everything’.

In this photo provided by CBS, David Letterman appears during a final taping of the “Late Show with David Letterman,” Wednesday May 20, 2015 in New York. (AP Photo/CBS, John Paul Filo) When David Letterman signed off CBS’ “Late Show” for good Wednesday, he closed the book on more than his own incomparable career in late night.An emotional Jimmy Kimmel held back tears as he sent off his idol David Letterman – and even encouraged his viewers to switch stations to watch the finale instead of his own show. “I learned almost nothing in college, but watching Late Night, not only did I learn everything from Dave, but the reason I have this show is because the executives at ABC saw me when I was a guest on Dave’s show and hired me to host this show.Over the past few weeks he has slowly wrapped up his tenure by welcoming old friends onto the show, including Bill Murray – who was his first guest – Tom Hanks, and George Clooney.As well as earning the title as the longest-serving late night chat show host on American TV, David Letterman will be remembered for his love of the drums.

After a record 33 years in late night and 6,028 shows, David Letterman departed CBS’ “Late Show” last night with an episode filled with vintage clips, laughs and just a little help from his celebrity pals.David interviewed countless celebrities on his beloved CBS broadcast Late Show over the past 22 years and many of Hollywood’s biggest stars have taken to social media to express their gratitude for him. “Tonight is David @Letterman’s final show. He closed out a broadcasting epoch that also encompasses his mentor, “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson, who retired with great emotion and ceremony in 1992. Rather than strolling over to speak to the lead singer of the many bands he’s featured on his show, Letterman has almost always spoken to the drummer first in praise of their kit. What a wonderful, inspiring, hilarious, groundbreaking, amazing ride. #ThanksDave (sic),” comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, who currently hosts daytime talk programme The Ellen DeGeneres Show wrote on Twitter Wednesday night.

Dave also called it a day for Steve Allen and Jack Paar, who back in the 1950s broke ground as each took a turn as the host of “Tonight.” For anyone sad that Letterman is leaving the spotlight, he offered joking consolation, announcing that he and about-to-be-former bandleader Paul Shaffer would soon “be debuting our new act at Caesars Palace with our white tigers.” Letterman’s much-awaited finale was surprisingly unsurprising for such a momentous occasion. To the surprise of other members of the band, Letterman has made a beeline for drummers from the likes of The Stokes, Beach House, Guided By Voices, St Vincent and Arctic Monkeys to ask them about their drums.

Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama saying, “Our long national nightmare is over.” “The Simpsons” and “Wheel of Fortune” contributed taped cameos – the latter with a puzzle that spelled out “Good Riddance to David Letterman.” “Top 10 Things I’ve Always Wanted to Say to Dave,” presented by Alec Baldwin, Barbara Walters, Steve Martin (“Your extensive plastic surgery was a necessity and a mistake”), Jerry Seinfeld (“Dave, I have no idea what I’ll do when you go off the air – you know, I just thought of something – I’ll be fine.”), Jim Carrey, Chris Rock (“I’m just glad your show is being given to another white guy.”), Julia-Louis Dreyfus (“Thanks for letting me take part in another hugely disappointed series finale.”), Peyton Manning, Tina Fey and Bill Murray (“Dave, I’ll never have the money I owe you.”) The late-night veteran seemed at peace with his decision to end his record-setting tenure. He wished his replacement, Stephen Colbert, well in the job. (Colbert starts in September.) Of the over 6,000 shows, he said, “I was here for most of them, and I can tell you a high percentage of them just absolutely sucked, and in light of all this praise, merited or not, do me a favor, save a little for my funeral.

The 24-year-old Silver Linings Playbook star posted a sweet image of herself on her Facebook page in which she was featured holding a note written from her to David, with the letter reading: “Don’t do this! He’s also asked about other percussion instruments Paul Shaffer could use, complimented Dave Grohl’s guitar and singled out musicians’ French horn and trombone.

I’d appreciate it.” Letterman’s favorite band, the Foo Fighters, rocked out over another medley of clips that ended with a shot of him blowing a kiss to the studio audience. He presented a sampling of vintage clips, and a new filmed segment displayed a day in the life of Dave doing “Late Show” — fun, even instructive, if an odd idea since this is no longer the way Dave’s day will go. I thank him for all the years he spent making us laugh,” Tom wrote online. “Stephen Hawking added it up, and in 33 years there’s been eight minutes of comedy.

The late-night talk TV world Letterman leaves behind is packed with capable hosts on many networks, but what they preside over, strictly speaking, is neither talk TV or late night. Immersed, as before, in a wide-open culture of humor he helped mastermind — an ironic, irreverent sensibility sufficiently absorbed into the ethos that it is scarcely noticed anymore, much less recognized as being largely of Dave’s making.

Letterman can boast a record of influence and longevity (33 years and more than 6,000 broadcasts) that is unlikely ever to be matched, so, at age 68, it was time to go.

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