Thursday marks the beginning of a whole new era in which The Late Show is no longer starring David Letterman. As we all know, Letterman's final appearance on The Late Show happened on Wednesday night, and it was an emotional, star-studded night for all involved. The 68-year-old currently holds the record for being the longest-serving talk show host in history, and, over the course of 30+ years, he has brought us laughs and tears, memorable moments and controversies, pointed interviews and poignant interviews. It is some pretty huge shoes that Stephen Colbert will soon be stepping into, so it comes as no surprise that other late night hosts paid their tributes and said their goodbyes to Letterman as well. In fact, Conan O'Brien told his audience to watch Letterman instead on Wednesday night, just in case they made the mistake of tuning into Conan instead.
And he isn't the only one to go above and beyond in their tribute to the talk show host. Jimmy Kimmel aired a repeat of his show during the time slot shared with Letterman, in order to ensure that even his audiences had nothing else to watch but the 68-year-old's final show. It's clear that Letterman's impact and legacy will last a lifetime, so, as we wipe our tears and tweet our #ThanksDaves, let's take a look at how all the late show hosts honored Letterman one last time.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon beat everyone else to the punch by paying tribute to Letterman on Monday, two days ahead of the talk show host's final broadcast, but that earliness did not make his words anymore poignant. He especially took time to thank Letterman for being there for us in the aftermath of 9/11:
He’s always just there when you need him. I remember after 9/11, we needed somebody. The city was in shock. We’re all looking for answers. We wanted to see what Dave had to say and we looked at him to say something. He said, ‘There is only one requirement for any of us and that is to be courageous, because courage, as you know, defines all other human behavior.’ We needed that. David Letterman is courageous. Have a nice retirement, Dave.
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Kimmel's tribute to Letterman was incredibly emotional and heartfelt, the perfect thing to watch if you think you haven't cried enough yet. On Tuesday, Kimmel went so far as to thank Letterman for this entire phase of his career. "The reason I have this show is because the executives at ABC saw me when I was a guest on Dave's show — and hired me to host this show. So I want to thank Dave and his writers and producers." His voice broke while he said that, too, because, like I said, this is the tribute you want to watch if you haven't cried enough yet.
Late Night With Seth Meyers
Seth Meyers drove the tribute train straight into parody town to make a truly epic stop. OK, you want the news without metaphors? Fine. Meyers recreated Letterman's old Late Night intro, because Letterman previously hosted the show before getting his Late Show gig and because why the hell not? The shot-for-shot remake was cute enough, but it punches you right in the feels when it ends with the line: "And now, a man who knows it’s Letterman’s show and he’s just borrowing it, Seth Meyers!"
Did I mention that O'Brien interrupted his show to tell his audience to change the channel over to Letterman? Because that happened. However, that was just O'Brien's most recent tribute to the talk show host. Before that moment, O'Brien made a long speech detailing the impact that Letterman has had on his life and career:
After [Letterman was a guest on our show], everything turned around for me. The morale of the staff shot through the ceiling. My producer, my writers, Andy — we all thought that if David Letterman can come on our show and say a few kind words, maybe, just maybe, we can earn the right to be here. And we survived…At one of the lowest points of my life, when I was a 30 year old national punchline, Dave, for reasons I still don’t really understand — completely rescued me. I truly believe that simple act of kindness turned everything around and made all the difference.
The Late Late Show with James Corden
When Letterman was finally over and you were at a loss for what to do or how to feel... enter James Corden. The Late Late Late Show began with a cold open in which Corden and Sting, of all people, were sitting in front of the Late Show building, where they proceeded to sing, "Every Breath You Take" in honor of Letterman. ""It's been an honor following you," Corden added to this hilarious yet touching tribute. "And we will miss you." That's a fact.