On Wednesday night, America will say goodbye to David Letterman, a comedic genius who has been revolutionizing late night television longer than I have been alive. I missed out on the NBC years, so I learned about all his most memorable bits secondhand. Instead, for me he was always the guy on CBS facing off against the Leno juggernaut. As a kid, I appreciated Leno’s easy humor more, but over the years I began to appreciate Letterman’s sarcastic wit and his ironic take on comedic conventions, and eventually fully embraced his approach. In my mind, “Is This Anything?” is the pinnacle late night achievement.
An underrated part of Letterman’s legacy was his willingness to book unconventional musical acts. In our brief run so far, we have spotlighted performances from favorite bands on the show several times, and we probably should have shared several more. Over the years, the Late Show has provided several great groups with their first major exposure on a network, and it was always a joy to see Dave himself get a kick out of many of the bands that performed. Of course, let us not forget the contributions from the brilliant Paul Shaffer and the CBS orchestra; there were few things cooler to watch than seeing Paul join in when he was digging what he heard, like he did with Red Fang a few months back.
So, thank you Dave. You will sorely be missed. And I hope you finally get a sweet drumset for yourself.