David Letterman

Posted May 25, 2015

Knowing there would come a day when David Letterman retired was a sad reality that surfaced in my mind less and less, though that didn’t really ease the pain when it finally happened. I must’ve started watching Dave when I was 10 or 11, latching on to this trojan horse manchild who carved my first lasting impressions of comedy and subversion. He was my private thing, as most longtime fans would say. Like early Conan, Dave’s show was scrappy, honest and brave. And unlike Carson, his irreproachable network television father figure, Dave opened up the format well beyond the desk, searching further into America’s indifferent psyche than most viewers cared to examine.

I watched his NBC days until his departure in 1993 for CBS, the year I graduated high school. The new format was shiny and his Adidas were now long gone. On and off I caught the show, but it wasn’t the same as those early years spent watching alone in my room. Fantasies of interning for show, writing for the show, guest hosting the show, evaporated as I grew up and let it go.

In October of 2012, after writing in for tickets 25 years prior with no response, I was in New York and called to request standby seats at Justin’s insistence. That night we sat in the second row, freezing, and watched as Dave and Chris Elliott bantered. My memory of that night was the long buildup to finally taking seats in the studio, a very trim and energetic Dave running out, the bursts of activity off camera between segments, and the show close arriving sooner than I’d hoped.