Former Late Show host David Letterman got a hero’s welcome when he returned to New York City’s Ed Sullivan Theater, where Stephen Colbert now holds court as host.
Letterman was introduced to a thunderous reaction from the studio audience Monday, prompting Dave to tell Colbert, “Oh my God, Stephen, control your people,” and saying self-deprecatingly, “I will say this is the most enthusiastic audience I’ve been near since the night I announced I was quitting.”
Dave left his post eight years ago, and Monday night was the My Next Guest Needs No Introduction host’s first return to the venue.
In a lengthy interview with his predecessor, Colbert asked Letterman what he missed most about hosting his show, to which Dave answered, “I miss everything.”
The now-bearded 76-year-old added of the late-night gig, “Mostly it’s fun and very few things in life provide one the opportunity.” A notorious perfectionist back in the day, Letterman also admitted to his successor, “I can’t speak for you or to you on this topic, but for me, if you muck one up, 24 hours later you get to try again, and that’s a pretty good device.”
Looking back, Letterman called his musical guests “one of the great parts of the show” and a “tremendous gift.” He also recalled being frightened by Green Day drummer Tre Cool, who would “lunge” at him after every appearance. One time, he jumped up and fell off the stage.
“I assumed he was kidding around,” Dave said. “Perhaps he actually wanted to hurt me, but looking back now I thought what a great experience that was.”
Dave also gave Colbert his flowers, saying of the show’s success, “You make it look easy.”
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