CBS (ended 2015)
Allow me a little time to reminisce as the world marks the retirement of the last of the great late night talk show hosts (OK, it was 2 weeks ago, but I've been busy). I haven’t always been IndianaMom. Back in 1980 I was a newlywed, recent college graduate living above a wedding shop in Portage, Wisconsin. That summer, each morning after my husband left for work and before I went to my afternoon job I watched The David Letterman Show, certainly the most innovative, not-ready-for-morning-TV show ever to air. Those few weeks the show was broadcast cemented one of the longest relationships of my life. I feel like Dave and I grew up together.

Below are some of the phrases and comedy bits that longtime fans will immediately associate with a special time in Dave’s career and our own comedy education. These aren't necessarily the best comedy bits he ever did, but they demonstrate the variety of humor Dave gave us through the years. For what it’s worth, in my opinion, David Letterman was not just a great talk show host; he changed the face of comedy. Dave’s own brand of comedy made cynical, sarcastic, self-deprecating humor the norm rather than the exception. There will never be another like him. With thanks (and apologies) to Dave and all the writers who ever contributed to his Top Ten List, here is my list of Top Ten Things I Already Miss About David Letterman. Open the thing.

10. Dog Poetry – This short film was chosen by original Late Night head writer, Merrill Markoe, as one of her favorite bits from the show.



9. “They pelted us with rocks and garbage”- Occasionally Dave presented us with choices for his new catch phrase. This one caught on for a while. The one I remember best was a non-winner in another catch phrase competition: “What do you want, wicker?”



8. Car and truck rental song – This commercial jingle was introduced in this segment of Dave’s Record Collection, but in typical Dave fashion, he didn’t let it drop there. He played it almost every night for weeks, if not months.



7. Dick Assman – In this edition of Small Town News Dave came across a man with an unusual name. Dave kept talking about Dick Assman, and the man became a bit of a celebrity.



6. Holiday Quarterback Challenge – Dave’s Christmas show was always a highlight of the season for me. The traditions built up over the years to include Darlene Love singing “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home),” Paul Shaffer’s impression of Cher, Jay Thomas’s famous Lone Ranger story, and this annual attempt to knock a meatball off the top of a Christmas tree with a football. Hey, we all have our family traditions.



5. Monkey Cam – In the very early days of the technology, Late Night got hold of a tiny camera and mounted it on a monkey. Because, what else would you do with it? Begin at 3:39 in this video if you want to skip the monologue. Bonus: in this episode Paul introduces Anton Fig, who would become the band's drummer for the rest of their run.



4. “It’s Not Oprah ‘til It’s Oprah” – For months Dave campaigned to be on Oprah Winfrey’s show, or for her to appear on the Late Show, but she didn’t return his calls. He kept a journal (every entry was something like, “Oprah didn’t call.”), and made a big thing out of nothing (Dave’s specialty). Finally he did her show, and Oprah came on the Late Show. Somewhere along the line Paul wrote a special song called “It’s Not Oprah ‘til It’s Oprah,” which was really pretty good. I couldn’t find a clip of the whole song, but the CBS Orchestra plays part of it here, when Oprah made her first appearance in 16 years.



3. Will It Float? – The third time they did “Will It Float?” Dave said, “Nobody on the show really likes it. From your cards and letters and phone calls, we know that you folks at home don't care for it, either. We're gonna try it one more time, and if it's not anything tonight, that's it.” They would go on to do it over 200 more times, from February 2002 to August 2008. I know this because somebody documented each and every “Will It Float?”



2. “Please, no wagering” – One of Dave’s signature bits, Stupid Pet Tricks, began way back in his morning show. Eventually he added Stupid Human Tricks, and both segments continued throughout his time at NBC and CBS.



1. “From the Home Office in Wahoo, Nebraska” – Dave may best be remembered for his Top Ten Lists. That’s the reason why I, and everybody else, has done a top ten list to honor his career. Here is the very first one.

Photo credit.

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Jun 03, 2015
Thanks.I had a few good laughs going through the clips.
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Jun 03, 2015
I miss Dave too and thank you for taking the time to gather these clips, some of which I had never seen. I am with you in saying that I feel like I grew up with him too and sadly don't see an ample replacement on the horizon. We'll always have youTube and look forward to seeing Dave again when he's good and ready
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Jun 03, 2015
I miss Letterman like I'd miss a thorn in my foot.
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