David Letterman took the stage for the last time on Wednesday, as the audience gave him a standing ovation at the Ed Sullivan Theater, he motioned the audience to sit and said:
“Please be seated. I don’t know what to do. That’s it — stop it,”
The final episode was featured with plenty of celebrity guests, video montages, flashbacks of famous sketches and much gratitude from the host, who thanked a long list of people who helped along the way.
“Our long national nightmare is over.”
That was the kick off to the final episode, with previously filmed lines from George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and President Obama.
“Letterman is retiring,”
“You’re just kidding, right?”
The first act also included a tribute from The Simpsons, with Homer in front of the TV, laughing at a cartoon Letterman. The show ended with the Foo Fighters performing “Everlong,” the same song they played when Letterman had returned to the show from heart surgery back in February of 2001.
At the end of the episode, Letterman gave a final goodbye from his desk, saying the tributes he’s received since announcing his retirement have been “flattering, embarrassing and gratifying, save a little praise for my funeral.”
After his final goodbye from his desk, he then began to thank everyone from his friend Moonves, the show’s staff, stating that they deserve more credit for the show than he ever will. Finally he turned to his wife and son.
“Thank you for being my family — I love you, and really, nothing else matters, does it?”
Letterman also told Paul Shaffer (the bandleader):
“I don’t think I’ll ever be back in this building again honestly, I think it would just be too difficult for me … emotionally … because I just don’t want to come back and see others living our lives.”