Rachel Paige
May 21, 2015 10:25 am

After well over six thousand (??!!) shows, David Letterman is the host of Late Night no more. Sadness. But, we’ll always have the greatest episode on earth, aka last night’s epic, emotional, celebrity-packed sendoff. Here’s what went down.

10. Tina Fey’s perfect cameo

For his last top 10 list, Letterman rounded up everyone from Steve Martin and Chris Rock to Jim Carrey and Peyton Manning, to each share one thing they’ve always wanted to say to him. (Watch the full amazingness here.) Guess who stole the show? Tina Fey…yet again. Here’s her parting words for Dave:

9. Letterman’s awesome family

Letterman’s wife, Regina, and their son, Harry, sat in the audience for the show. The camera cut to them at one point, and they received a standing ovation themselves. Then, David gave a seriously moving tribute to his family. “I want to thank my own family… I want to thank my wife Regina and my son Harry. Thank you. Seriously just thank you for being my family. I love you both and really nothing else matters, does it?” Tears. Just tears dripping down our faces.

8. One last little nudge for the Tonight Show

There should be a college class taught on late night television. Letterman was the host of the Late Night on NBC for many years, and when Johnny Carson was set to retire from The Tonight Show it seemed like Letterman was the perfect man for the job. Instead, the show went to Jay Leno. Letterman then moved to CBS and got his own show, Late Night, in the same time slot as The Tonight Show, and well, you could say that the rest is history.

So I totally understand that Letterman had to bring that up one more time, and he did it so perfectly. “It’s beginning to look like I’m not going to get the Tonight Show…” Classic.

7. That thing with Taco Bell

A lot of old clips from past shows ran during the episode, but the funniest one had to be the Taco Bell segment. It had Letterman playing a Taco Bell employee working the drive-thru, and Letterman didn’t really know how to do the job. He said all the wrong things to customers. He gave them outrageous prices for their meals. One woman drove away. Another woman recognized his voice, and then asked if he was Howard Stern. It was simple, and hilarious.

6. The Presidential send-off

Looks like Letterman’s got friends in powerful places, even though it looks like they’re glad to see Letterman go. First, we see Former President Gerald Ford say, “the long national nightmare is over,” which is what he said to the nation when Nixon resigned.

That line is then repeated by George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and finally President Obama who is joined by Letterman. It’s a pretty impressive send-off. Check out it here.

5. The mini-Seinfeld reunion

Jerry Seinfeld was at the show, and so was Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Both were there to present Dave with the top 10 list, and when it was Julia’s turn, she wasn’t afraid to harken back to the last days of Seinfeld. Snap.

4. The Foo Fighters’ final tribute song

For some reason I imagine that Dave Grohl is just the nicest person on the planet, and when Letterman asked him to be a part of the final show he was elated and then brought everyone pizza. He and the rest of the Foo Fighters played over the final montage for the show, showing Letterman through the years, from his early days up until now (including a quick glimpse of one of my favorite Letterman interviews, with Jennifer Lawrence got cold and asked for a blanket). Check out the whole sweet performance here.

3. A Day In The Life of Letterman

What does Letterman do during the day? When you think about it, he’s not like Jimmy Fallon, who’s always tweeeting and hanging out with Justin Timberlake, you know? So what’s Letterman up to when we don’t see him on TV?

There was a segment showing us what it’s like from the time Letterman shows up at the studio, right up until the show. His office has scooters in it, and Letterman likes to hang out in his office, trying to throw things into little cups.

2. The #ThanksDave hashtag

This hashtag started before the show, and ran right through the show, and even ran on other shows. Letterman is so highly respected that Conan O’Brien even told viewers on his TBS show to switch over to Letterman. Jimmy Kimmel didn’t even tape a new show for yesterday. Letterman has influenced everyone in late night one way or another, and it’s amazing to see that outpour of love. Time has a great round-up of some of the best #ThanksDave tweets to happen, but there are a zillion more, too.

1. His final goodbye

Sometimes, final shows are built up so much that they’re prime to disappoint. While Letterman’s show certainly got a lot of attention over the past week — from the slew of surprise guests to the outpouring of love from everyone who’s ever worked with him — his final show was nothing short of perfect. There was fanfare, naturally, but it wasn’t overboard. It was simply a great episode to cap off a thousands others. Letterman came out, did his bits, looked back fondly, had a few laughs and that was that. It was the only way to end. His final line to us was simple yet perfect, too, “All right, that’s pretty much all I got. The only thing I have left to do, for the last time on a television program: Thank you and good night.”

BONUS: Bill Murray. When he showed up, Letterman said to him, “I saw you on TV last night, you doing alright?” You know, because he jumped out of a cake.

Images via here.

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