David Letterman peppered his final monologue as host of CBS’s “Late Show” with wisecracks about Scientology, recently resurfaced controversial immigrant Elian Gonzalez, and other topics of the day on Wednesday.
Letterman, who entered the stage to a standing ovation, started out with a joke about his infamous loss of the hosting gig on NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” which went to Jay Leno.
“I’ll be honest with you: it’s beginning to look like I’m not gonna get ‘The Tonight Show,'” he quipped, starting the joking portion of the evening.
Then he said what he’s going to do now that he’s retired: “I hope to become the new face of Scientology,” Letterman cracked.
He knew it was time to go when the cue card guy told him he “can’t write the words any bigger.”
Letterman then rolled segment “Comedy We Would Have Done Tomorrow,” which took shots at Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee, as well as a “Mad Max” supercut.
After the short gag, Letterman added up all the episodes he’s done, saying that it all comes down to about “8 minutes of laughter.”
The biggest problem with not having a show, Dave said? When he screws up, he’ll “have to go on somehow else’s show to apologize.”
Letterman then got a nice tribute from Fox’s “The Simpsons”; later one would come from “Wheel of Fortune.”
“Do you remember Elian Gonzalez?” Letterman continued along. “The kid is 21-years-old and yesterday he announced that he wants to come back to America. Now my question to you is, should I take this personally?”
“We are going to continue on in show business,” Dave said of him and bandleader Paul Schaefer. “Next month in June, Paul and I will be debuting our new act with white tigers.”
For Letterman’s final episode, the Top Ten list, a staple of the show, received a twist, with stars including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Bill Murray, Tina Fey and Jim Carrey joining forces to read off the list.
The subject? “Top 10 Things I’ve Always Wanted to Say to Dave.” Among the zingers: Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus declaring, “Thanks for letting me take part in another hugely disappointing series finale.” And Chris Rock noting, “I’m just glad your show is being given to another white guy.” (Former “The Colbert Report” host Stephen Colbert will take over the show in September.)
Other big moments on the night included the re-airing of a 1996 Taco Bell remote, a new “Day in the Life of David Letterman” segment, a musical performance of “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters, a “Dave With Kids” package, and a pre-taped skit featuring Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.