David Letterman and Stephen Colbert recently appeared together on The Late Show, where they discussed a variety of topics, including their experiences as late night hosts and what Letterman has been up to since he retired in 2015. The duo also touched on the impact of music on the show and what Letterman misses most about hosting.
Walking out to roaring applause, Letterman took his bows while joking with Colbert and quipping, “Wow, OK. Thank you. Oh my God, Stephen, control your people.” The former Late Show host then went on to praise the current Late Show team for their great success, calling the theater like a mall or Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive. He also noted how the dressing room was nicer than any hotel he had ever stayed in and that he’d be there through Christmas. This prompted humor from Colbert, who admitted they had “fixed it up a bit.”
Letterman also poked fun at the theater staff when he joked, “I said, ‘I’m Ed Sullivan.’ Got me right in.” This lighthearted banter between the two hosts continued throughout the segment, with Colbert recalling the advice he got from Letterman before his final show and Letterman joking about wanting to try sitting on the other side of the stage where Johnny Carson had his desk.
The conversation shifted to the nerves that come with hosting late night, with Colbert recalling how he asked Letterman if there was a “hidey hole” in the building. Letterman jokingly advised that it was close enough to hear the producers calling for Colbert while not being found, as Colbert laughed and shared that he spends a lot of time hiding from his producers. This led to Letterman reflecting on the pressure that comes with hosting late-night television, sharing that he couldn’t leave the building until it was very dark and how he spent countless hours mulling over the daily show’s performance.
The duo also discussed their experiences as parents and the post-retirement life, with Letterman sharing how he spends his days Googling symptoms while enjoying the empty nest phase of life. They also touched on the impact of music on the Late Show, with Letterman recalling that one of the great parts of the show was the musical performances. He shared favorite moments, including being startled by Green Day’s drummer charging the desk and being instrumental in bringing The National on to perform for his return to the Ed Sullivan Theater.
Addressing what he missed most about hosting, Letterman expressed that it was the fun and the opportunity to start fresh every night. He noted that if he made a mistake, he could try again 24 hours later, which was a unique perk of the job. The conversation ended on a sentimental note, with Letterman reflecting on his time hosting the Late Show and the impact of music.
The candid and lighthearted conversation between David Letterman and Stephen Colbert provided a rare glimpse into the world of late night hosting. As Letterman made his first appearance on The Late Show since his retirement, it was a nostalgic and heartwarming reunion that showcased the camaraderie and mutual respect between the two hosts. Letterman’s reflections on his time as a late-night host and the impact of music on the show revealed the lasting legacy of his tenure and the influence of his work on the late-night television landscape.