I’ve been watching Letterman for my entire life. By the time I was born, David Letterman had already been hosting a late night show for 13 years, and had been at the Late Show for two years.
When I was in elementary school, I heard The Top 10 List every morning while I ate breakfast. Our local radio station would rebroadcast the previous night’s list, and it would play at the same time every day. My morning routine was timed to the list. To get to school on time, I knew I had to be ready to leave the front door immediately after Dave read number one.
In my middle school days, I started playing tennis and traveling to tournaments all over New York. Some nights, after a long car ride to the hotel, we would get in just late enough that I could fall asleep to Letterman’s opening monologue.
By high school, I saw the show on a regular basis. Whenever I had a lot of homework or a big project to finish, I would be up long enough to hear the announcer say: “And now, from the greatest city in the world” to “this has been Alan Kalter speaking, good night”.
For the first two years of college, I would stay up so late that watching Letterman would be a nice, mid-evening break. Even though I saw the show more often, it was still fun to watch Dave run across the stage before coming out. Listening to Paul Shaffer and The CBS Orchestra, seeing Letterman in his double breasted suit and gray socks, and seeing him tap a pencil on his desk to start the next segment, were all still special occasions that I looked forward to.
Letterman was the perfect combination of clever wit and ridiculous shenanigans. His last show was the evening after my last final exam of Sophomore Year. Colbert will take over at the very beginning of the next school year, I can’t wait. He’s going to be great, but it certainly will be strange not laughing along with Letterman when I’m up past 12am on a weeknight. For all of the laughs, David Letterman: thank you, and good night.