Sometime next year, there won’t be any more Top 10 lists. There won’t be any more stupid human tricks or throwing items off a five-story building. (Okay, I don’t think David Letterman has thrown anything off a building in a while.) But, yes, after 21 seasons of the Late Show with David Letterman, he’s announced his retirement.
Even though I haven’t watched Letterman in some time, this is very much a changing-of-the-guard moment. Ever since I was nine — so, just a little bit before I was old enough to sneak viewings of late-night TV — the late-night hosts were Leno and Letterman. Leno finally retired for good last month (we can assume, anyway) and now Letterman will be gone in 2015. It just seems … weird. Letterman was the late-night talker I watched in high school — well, Letterman and Conan — and now he won’t be on TV any more. For people my age, Letterman may as well have been on since the start of television. It’d be like telling another generation that 60 Minutes has been canceled. This makes me feel old.
As a tribute to Dave, I grabbed some Philadelphia-related clips from Letterman from around the Internet.
Mike Schmidt, 1988
I actually wrote about this back on the dearly departed Walkoff Walk baseball blog four years ago; it’s a clip from October 18, 1988, when Letterman was on NBC. These are the kind of bits that made Letterman so watchable and fun. The main joke (“If I were Dave, I’d ask her about that first” is quite funny on its own, and the framing of a baseball telecast-style scouting report makes the whole thing delightfully silly. Schmidt actually did this throughout the show! One of the later lines was, “She’s a good singer, although it’s hard to believe Letterman would know the difference.”
Joe Frazier, 1989
This is another NBC clip; I had never seen it before yesterday but everything I wrote about the above also applies to this clip. How silly is this? Joe Frazier and David Letterman get gas! How did this even happen?
Note that Letterman forgets to take his hat off while saying grace. Also, Joe Frazier’s place in 1989 looked like a South Philly basement.
John Kruk, 1992 and 1993
[Embedding was disabled for this clip. You’ll have to click through to YouTube to watch.
Here, David Letterman makes fun of the Phillies right in John Kruk’s face in 1992…
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… then, by next year, the Phillies are great, and Letterman asks him about gum. What’s even more fun is watching how much Kruk’s mullet has grown in just one year. Why did the Phillies wait until the 1980s were well over to start growing mullets?
Please note the “Motownphilly” intro music, too.
Ryan Howard, 2010
Ryan Howard is a better actor in the Subway commercials, sadly. Still, it’s nice to remember another time when the Phillies were good.
Steve Keeley, 2014
But was it all athletes? No! Just this month, David Letterman devoted his top-10 list to Steve Keeley’s snow plow incident.
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