So, I haven't really watched David Letterman for quite some time, but I absolutely love Letterman -- and always will. I watched his show from the mid-80s until about the mid-90s and periods thereafter. But I just happened upon some prime-time show tonight highlighting some of his work over that past 30+ years and it got me missing him. And now there are only 13 shows left until he is done.
David Letterman was simply one of the most influential entertainers to me. I learned my humor from him, my wife (who was my high school girlfriend) started watching Letterman just because I watched him, and his style of comedy drove how I examined life -- for good or bad.
And this was all before VCRs/DVRs, so I had to stay up from 11:30 to 12:30 every night CST to watch him. And there was one year I only missed four shows. Homework could wait, sleep could wait -- I watched him religiously from 1984 when I first saw an episode in B&W in some garage where a bunch of teens were smoking and drinking and hiding from adults. I still remember the skit that hooked me.
In 1987 I waited in line at Rockefeller Plaza to get into the show, even though I was underage. (I didn't know it at the time.) That was also the year the technicians were on strike against NBC, and I still have the T-shirt some union boss gave me in NYC. (See Photo). I also attached a picture of Harvey Pekar wearing the same shirt he famously wore on a Dave episode. I didn't get to see his show that day, but seven years later I would eventually get a ticket.
In 1995 I met a friend from California for the show and just sat on the curb by a side entrance to the Ed Sullivan Theatre reading some history assignment for a college course. During that time the cast, crew, and guests of the Letterman show slowly filed in. Biff Henderson, Paul Shafer, Gerard Mulligan, the cue card guy Tony Mendez, the Bookmobile Lady, Chris Elliot, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, and of course Dave. They all signed my history textbook, except Dave whom I didn't ask. I didn't want to bother him.
I did, however, talk with Tony Mendez (the cue card guy) for some time, and he said that he would give me the top-ten-list card from the show. He couldn't get it because it was tossed before he could save it, but after the show he sought my friend and me out and apologized and said, I hope that these make up for it. He gave me a CBS pencil with a bunch of Dave chew marks on it and the final cue card from the night. That night they had Brian Wilson, Steven Weber (from that Wings sitcom), and Uma Thurman. Even today, this cue card sits just feet away from my sharpening station.
Anyhow, it will be sad to see Dave go. And btw, I completely plagiarized a Johnny Carson skit for a speech in high school and no one noticed. I got an A. And Ms. Anderson, if you are reading, sorry for that.