Jimmy Kimmel has had a lifelong obsession with David Letterman.
In honour of Letterman’s final show airing Wednesday night, Kimmel took the opportunity to address his idol’s departure during his Tuesday night monologue.
Usually full of jokes, Kimmel got serious as began to explain what Letterman means to him.
“I wanted to be an artist when I was a kid, I loved to draw. And every night after my parents went to bed, I would sit at my desk in my room and I would draw until it was very late,” Kimmel explained. “And while I was doing that, I would watch a television show that is very important to me, it was called ‘Late Night with David Letterman.'”
Kimmel continued: “And even though it looked like every other talk show, it wasn’t, it was weird. It was totally original, primarily because the host of the show– who a lot of the time seemed embarrassed to even be there, he did not seem like he was a part of show business– he was uncomfortable, he never pretended to be excited, and his way of saying things was so subtle that a lot of the times people he was saying things to didn’t know he was joking.”
“I started drawing pictures of Dave on my text books in school. When I turned 16, my mother baked me a ‘Late Night with David Letterman cake,'” said Kimmel. “You can see I’m wearing a David Letterman letterman jacket.”
“My first car, I went to the DMV and got a ‘L8 Nite’ vanity plate.”
“We had no VCR so I’d have ‘Late Night’ viewing parties at my house. My friends, who also loved the show, would come over at midnight while my parents were asleep. They would bring soda and we would watch the show.”
“Looking back,” he joked, “I now realise why none of the girls in school wanted to have sex with me.”
“I watched the show every night and little did I know that many years and many pounds later that watching the show was a great education for me,” Kimmel explained while getting emotional.
“I learned almost nothing in college, but watching ‘Late Night,’ not only did I learn how to do everything from Dave, 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.”
“Tomorrow night is Letterman’s farewell show and I’d like it if you watched that instead of our show,” urged Kimmel. “We are going to have a show on tomorrow night, but please do not watch it, especially if you’re a young person who doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.”
“Dave is the best and you should see him,” Kimmel said while tearing up.
Kimmel then explained that he wanted to show his audience “one of my favourite segments of the show,” which was “a parody of the after school specials they would run in the 70s and 80s.”
Kimmel then ran an old “Late Night” clip in which Letterman very ironically comforts a little boy named Jimmy about the end of the show.
“Jimmy, I’ve been looking all over for you,” Letterman says in the old video bit. “I know how you feel, hurt at first, but believe me, you’re going to get over it. Jimmy, just because the show is canceled doesn’t mean it goes away forever. It can live on through re-runs and syndication.”
The irony was not lost on Kimmel, who told his audience, “I think this sums up how I feel this week, almost supernaturally well.”
Check out the full tribute below, it’s worth a watch:
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