May 21, 2015 10:32 AM EDT

Conan O’Brien said something on his show Wednesday night that was rather strange for a television host. He told viewers to change the channel, and watch another host’s show instead.

The reason, as O’Brien said, was that Wednesday was “no ordinary night.” It was David Letterman’s last show, which aired during O’Brien’s segment.

“There simply are no words that can encapsulate the sheer magnitude of what Dave has achieved,” O’Brien said. “He’s been the North Star for me and for every comic of my generation.”

O’Brien spoke about the time Letterman came on his show while he was struggling early in his career: “It’s easily one of the happiest nights of my professional life,” he said, saying his career would not have taken off if not for Letterman’s visit.

That was when he told everyone to change the channel. “I’m going to let you know the exact moment when Dave’s show is starting,” he said, telling viewers to record his show so they could switch over to watch Letterman. “You cannot miss out,” he said.

Watch O’Brien’s emotional tribute above.

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