It’s a big deal that David Letterman retired, ending his late night talk shows after 33 years and over 6,000 episodes.
It’s the end of an era.
Personally, David Letterman played an important role in my life:
Twenty-five years ago, I met my future husband (a Dave Letterman fan) who lived about 1,000 miles away. The first time he visited me in New York we saw Late Night with David Letterman at 30 Rock. It was like an angel got us the tickets — I remember a woman set them up for me, but I don’t remember who she was or how come I knew her — but it worked like a charm: future husband moved in with me about 8 weeks later, and we’ve been together ever since.
But perhaps more significantly, Letterman holds an important place in the lives of millions of Americans, spanning over 30 years. We all watched him before going to bed; he was part of our lives — a familiar ritual filled with laughs and surprises. He helped us get back on our feet after reeling from 9/11. He shared his miracles with us — first, his open heart surgery, then the joy his son brought him.
One commentator summed up Dave’s appeal by saying that because Letterman was so awkward and uncomfortable, it made the rest of us feel like, ‘Hey, if he can make it, maybe I can make it, too!’ He was far from perfect, very quirky, and famously cranky. He didn’t change to be like anyone else. He was one-of-a-kind.
As Frank Sinatra crooned, “I did it my way.” Dave is a legend who lived through his show on his own terms, and that resonated with people.
And he was just plain funny.