David Letterman has just always been there for us. I grew up watching the guy, and though we've never met, he truly was a member of our family. He was the Uncle that could be kind of cranky, always hilarious, and there to tell you exactly what he thought. Like a distant family member, you can take them for granted ... just figuring they'll always be there. I did that. Letterman is on pretty late, and when you have early mornings, you just don't stay up for t.v. shows. When the word came that Dave (as we always called him - "Who's on Dave tonight?") was wrapping up his 33 year run as the best talk show on television, I had to stay up to watch his last three shows. I simply was not prepared for how extra emotional it would be ... I literally cried - and laughed - from beginning to end of each show, none more so than last night when Dave went off the air for the last time.
Dave was just always there. We'd come home from parties and gather around watching Dave. I moved to Hawai'i, living far away from my home and family for the first time, and Dave was there to keep me company. He was my friend when I moved to L.A. and only knew a few people. My Mom liked Dave the best too (after Johnny Carson, of course), always saying, "I can't stand that Leno", so we could all watch as a family. We watched until the very end, when Alan Kalter would have some little funny extra thing to say about Worldwide Pants - always very random and weird and exactly our humor. We cracked up at Paul Shaffer's little stony asides throughout the show, and wanted to hang out with him. We looked forward to Dave's crazy suits, like the Alka-Seltzer one, or the Velcro one. We loved it when he had kids and animals on, and Dave always had the very best musical guests around. I've had friends appear on the Letterman show, and all of them have said it was a thrill of a lifetime. I'm getting emotional again just typing about it.
The love for Dave was clear during the last show, with standing ovations the entire time. I watched at home with my brother, Paul ... just like we would do back in the day. I had tears streaming down my face the whole time, and when the Foo Fighters came on to play Dave off with "Everlong", I just openly bawled (Paul did not).
I'm so sad that I never had the opportunity to see a live taping of The Late Show With David Letterman, but he always made you feel as if you were there. We sure will miss you, Uncle Dave. I hope you have a total blast during your retirement ... and know how very much your show meant to us all.
"Is this anything?!" YES - it sure was something.