David Letterman is preparing to take his final bow as host of the Late Show on CBS. His leaving means that we will be losing him, Craig Ferguson, and Jon Stewart in a short amount of time. Letterman has been hosting late night shows for 33 years. That means he started doing this back in 1982. Probably before most of you reading this were even born.
For those who need some context. He started hosting late night talk shows
When a former actor was president.
Before an African-American became president.
Before going online meant anything.
Before cell phones.
Before gaming systems.
When people had to go to a video arcade to play videos games.
Before digital technology went mainstream.
When people used words like "rad" to describe things.
Before Madonna became a superstar.
Before the Berlin Wall came down.
When Russia was our enemy before becoming an ally and now returning to an enemy.
Before Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, and the others who are doing it now.
Before we discovered a hole in the Ozone layer.
Before digital cable.
Before Fox and Lifetime and Nickelodeon.
He was there before all these things and so many more.
I think about all these things, all these that have changed while he stayed on late night TV. All these things that changed while he kept working. We all know nothing lasts forever but this feels different, like the one thing that has always been there throughout it all, like we are closing the door on a chapter of American TV history. I did not watch every episode. It depended on the guest but I remember some of the big events like Bill Murray spray painting his desk, Jack Hanna and the animals, Drew Barrymore giving him a show...Even after 33 years, it is still too soon to end.
I already miss him.