David Letterman to Retire in 2015
By Bill Carter
The New York Times
David Letterman, the longest-running host in the history of late-night television, announced that he will retire from his CBS show next year, the latest shakeup in a rapidly changing late night talk-show lineup.
Mr. Letterman, who has always used his show as the outlet for discussing developments in both his life and his career, revealed his decision during a taping Thursday afternoon in Manhattan.
Mr. Letterman, 66, said he had informed the CBS president, Leslie Moonves, of his intention to step down from “The Late Show” at the end of his current contract, which expires in 2015. Mr. Letterman is considered by many to be the most original voice in the late-night format, and Mr. Moonves has been steadfast in his assurances in recent years that he would never ask Mr. Letterman to retire, saying at one point, “You don’t do that to a television legend.”
He began “Late Show” on CBS in 1993 after an 11-year run on NBC’s “Late Night” program, which he created. That total run of 33-years in late night (counting 2015) eclipses the 30-year tenure of Johnny Carson on NBC’s “Tonight” show.
It's not a stretch to say that I can probably count on both hands the number of David Letterman's shows I missed in the 80s and early 90s.
But it wasn't until today's announcement of his retirement in 2015, that I'd given much thought to just how good his shows were back then.
Here are just three clips from the early and mid-90s that demonstrate Letterman's uncanny ability to improvise and create comedy on the fly.
All three clips have two things in common. They're unscripted, and wickedly funny....something that's pretty much disappeared from late night TV these days.
Dave works the drive-thru at a New Jersey Taco Bell, June 1996.
Dave visits a New Jersey community, Feb. 1993.
1993 - May We See Your Photos, Please?