For the last time, David Letterman signed off from his late-night show on Wednesday night. Light on the jokes, but heavy on the graciousness, the Late Night host thanked his entire staff — including crew, writers and the band — for all they had done for the show. “These people collectively,” he said, “deserve more credit for this show than I ever will.”
Yet, in the middle of Letterman’s good-bye, bandleader Paul Shaffer summed up everyone else’s thoughts, saying, “Thank you so much Dave, you’ve changed our lives.”
Watch the full signoff here.
Photos: David Letterman’s Early Career One of David Letterman's earliest roles before he made it as a television host was as a guest star on Mork & Mindy. CBS/Getty Images Before he received his own show, Letterman was a regular guest host for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Above, he is seen interviewing Betty White. Paul Drinkwater—NBC/Getty Images In 1980, Letterman finally got his own morning comedy show, The David Letterman Show. Above, he is seen interviewing Truman Capote. Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images After the cancellation of his morning show, Letterman was given a new show and time slot, Late Night With David Letterman which immediately followed The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The first version of the Late Night franchise, debuted on February 1, 1982 and would eventually be succeeded by Conan O’Brien, seen above. Al Levine—NBC/Getty Images Letterman left NBC for CBS to start the Late Show with David Letterman when NBC gave the reigns of The Tonight Show to Jay Leno instead of him after Johnny Carson's retirement. The first show debuted on August 30, 1993, with Letterman's retirement announced for 2015. New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images More Must-Reads From TIME Inside the White House Program to Share America's Secrets Meet the 2024 Women of the Year East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does Column: The New Antisemitism The 13 Best New Books to Read in March Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time