“The last six weeks it’s been crazy. People have been saying lovely things about us, and it’s really been over the top. And I can’t tell you how flattering, embarrassing and gratifying it has all been. I have two things to say about all this: We have done over 6,000 shows and I was here for most of them and I can tell you a pretty high percentage of those shows absolutely sucked. And, also, in light of all of this praise, merited or not, do me a favor – save a little for my funeral. I’d appreciate it.
“I came here 22 years ago from NBC, and a fellow by the name of Howard Stringer ran CBS in those days, and he wanted us to do the show in this theater. Frankly, it was dump. It was a huge, horrible dump. It was not certified for habitation, and we came in and — this is a true story — it was crawling with rats. Big rats. But so many rafters and beams were falling down, the rats were stoop-shouldered. That’s absolutely a true story. And he turned into this beautiful theater, and now look at it, and we’ve come to call this home each and every day and love it more and more. And what a wonderful place to do a show.
“And then Howard Stringer left, and I believe now is in charge of a very successful string of nail salons. And then a man named Les Moonves came and he’s still here today. … Over the years, he has been a friend of the show. He has been very supportive of the show, and he has been more than patient with me. If this was a printed sheet of paper you could underline ‘patient’ several dozen times. So I would like to thank Mr. Moonves for that support.”
After that, Letterman thanked his entire crew and all the band members by name, calling Paul Shaffer “my good, good friend, as good a friend as you can have on television and as good a friend as you can have in life” and a “musical genius.” He also thanked his mother for appearing on the show.
“I want to thank my family: my wife Regina and my son Harry. Thank you. Just seriously, thank you for being my family. I love you both, and really nothing else matters, does it?”I want to thank the folks at home. People come up to me all the time and say, ‘I have been watching you since that morning show’ … and I say, ‘Have you never thought about a complete psychological work-up?’ There is nothing I can ever do to repay you. Thank you, you’ve given me everything, and thank you again.”
Letterman again told the story of how Foo Fighters flew to New York from South America in order to perform on his first show back on the air after Dave had to take months off following open heart surgery. “And since then, we’ve been joined at the hip.”He concluded with: “All right. That’s pretty much all I got. For the last time on a television program, thank you, and good night.”