Last night, David Letterman did his final Late Show, capping off an amazing run with a star-packed celebration, but in many ways the celebration started a while ago. In the weeks leading up to his last show, many of Letterman’s favorite guests and friends stopped by to pay their respects and say goodbye. It was sometimes silly, sometimes emotional, but always memorable. So, in case you missed any of them, here are the highlights from the final two weeks of The Late Show with David Letterman.
The Final Top Ten List
We’re starting at the end, but that’s because this was kind of the crescendo of all the celebrities stopping by one last time. For his final Top Ten list, Dave got a group of comedy all-stars to read things they’ve always wanted to say to him.
Murray was Letterman’s final sit-down guest, and well as his first guest back in 1982. Since he’s Bill Murray, we expected something big, and he delivered.
Top Ten Things I’ll Miss About Working at *The Late Show*
For one of his final three Top Ten Lists, Letterman gathered his staff, including stage manager Biff Henderson and musical director Paul Shaffer, to read off things they’ll miss about working on the show.
Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder didn’t bring the band with him for his final performance, so he was backed by Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra instead for an incredible performance of “Better Man.”
Dave Interviews Paul A week before they closed out more than 30 years of working together, Dave asked Paul Shaffer to come out from behind his keyboards and sit by the desk for an interview.
Romano has special ties to Letterman, because it was Letterman who offered him the sitcom deal that led to the life-changing Everybody Loves Raymond. Here, Romano reflects on that, and stands where he first delivered his stand-up on the show one last time.
Though he’s longtime friend of the show, and a guy who used to do Letterman impressions on Saturday Night Live, Macdonald is one of the last people you’d expect to get emotional on a talk show. Still, during this standup set, he really let his love for Letterman show.
A lot of people didn’t want Letterman to leave the show, but few were as proactive about showing it as Clooney, who handcuffed himself to the host for the evening.
Roberts has visited The Late Show many times, and pretty much every time the appearance has been sealed with a kiss. So, of course she and Dave had to do it one more time.
For his goodbye, Sandler picked up his guitar and delivered an original song, crowning Letterman, among other things, the “Oldest Dad at Little League.”
Years ago, back on Late Night, Cher famously called Letterman an “asshole” during a memorably awkward interview. In the weeks before The Late Show ended, she dropped by to do it again.
Fey used her final Letterman appearance to first complain about the complications of wearing a dress on TV, then declare that the dress she happened to be wearing that night would be her last. What followed made her easily one of the most memorable final Late Show guests.
True to his Broadway heart, Lane decided to send Dave off with an original song.
Hanks isn’t just a great talk show guest. He’s a really funny guy in his own right, so he decided to give Letterman a little taste of what his retirement will be like.
Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra
The end of The Late Show wasn’t just a goodbye for Dave. It was also a sendoff for Paul and his band, so they decided before they left, they would do the performance they wanted to do, and this is the result.
Oprah Winfrey, who Dave once famously mocked for not coming on the show, returned to the Late Show stage to say goodbye. Since she knows a thing or two about leaving a successful talk show, the two talked about what Dave might keep from his office.
You had to know Martin Short wouldn’t leave The Late Show without doing something outrageous, and he delivered, performing a song that he said he’d originally intended for Letterman’s funeral.
Dylan’s not exactly a talk show staple, but he is a legend, and when Dave came calling, he answered with his first musical performance on the show since 1993.
And finally, here are the last words Dave will ever say on The Late Show with David Letterman. Have a tissue ready.