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David Letterman: Here's what will happen on his final night

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(Read caption) David Letterman announces his retirement during a taping in New York.

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David Letterman’s last episode of the “Late Show” airs on CBS on May 20, bringing his 22-year run to a close.

Letterman debuted on the network in 1993 after over a decade hosting the NBC show “Late Night.” He also served as a weatherman and had a morning show, “The David Letterman Show,” also on NBC. 

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His last several episodes have included several notable guests, with Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, Bill Murray, and President Barack Obama, among others, all making appearances. Singer Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam performed on the show recently and Bob Dylan performed the song “The Night We Call It a Day” on the May 19 episode. 

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So what will tonight’s final episode hold? According to Rolling Stone, the band the Foo Fighters will perform on the program. Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl recalled performing on the show in 2000 after Letterman underwent surgery.

“When he came back, he requested the Foo Fighters be the first band to perform for his first week back because he wanted to hear the song ‘Everlong,’" Grohl said in an interview with the Orange County Register. "Ever since that day, we've been in love. I don't know how many times we've played that show, but every time we do and I stand in the Ed Sullivan Theater, I never take that for granted.”

In addition, clips of Letterman’s famous monologues, sketches, and interviews will most likely be included, as the official listing for the episode says there will be “memorable highlights” during the show.

What else will happen during the final night? USA Today writer Chris Chase predicts that former NBC “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno will participate in the show in some way. According to the New York Times, when Leno took over “Tonight” rather than Letterman, Letterman was “devastated,” but in 2010, the two appeared in a Super Bowl commercial with Oprah Winfrey. 

However, “Late Show” producer Rob Burnett told CNN, “I don’t think so” when asked whether Leno will pop in. “We invited Jay … it didn’t come to pass.”

Fellow late night hosts Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and Jimmy Kimmel all recently paid tribute to Letterman, mentioning how Letterman changed the late-night talk show format as well as what audience members expected of a late-night program. “I think this show, what late night has become, is a result of him playing with the genre and experimenting and exploring, and I, like every kid who grew up watching him, will miss him,” Fallon said during his show, while Kimmel said during his program, “I learn[ed] how to do everything from Dave.”

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Meanwhile, O’Brien called Letterman “a comedic revolution” when writing for Entertainment Weekly. “Like every comedian of my era, I watched Dave’s subversive, untamed morning show with delightful incredulity… Dave didn’t belong, and he had no interest in belonging. He amused himself, skewered clueless celebrity guests, and did strange, ironic comedic bits that no one had seen on television before. Everything about that show was surreal and off-kilter … Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave’s seismic impact on comedy.”


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