“What late night has become is a result of him playing with the genre, and experimenting, and exploring….I, like every kid who grew up watching him, will miss him.”
Those words from Fallon kicked off a five-minute tribute to David Letterman. A fifth-grade teacher of Fallon’s once predicted that he’d replace Letterman on Late Night, and it almost came true—Conan O’Brien was between them, but Fallon was next in line before his current gig at the Tonight Show. He goes on to describe his last time appearing as a guest with Letterman, and takes us through the pre-show rituals, and how the iconic host waved to him before the show began—a rare gesture, but a meaningful one for Fallon, who was nervous about the big stage he was about to step on.
Fallon finishes by remembering Letterman’s first show after 9/11. “He said, ‘there’s only one requirement for any of us, and that is to be courageous. Because courage, as you may know, defines all other human behavior.” David Letterman is courageous. Have a nice retirement, Dave.”
Watch the full clip above. Letterman’s last show is tomorrow night.