David Letterman announced his retirement from the “Late Show” on Thursday with a mix of sincerity, gratitude and humor.
During the day’s taping, Letterman recounted to his New York City studio audience the pre-show conversation he had with CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, where the comedian stated his intentions to depart.
On the air, Letterman had some fun breaking the news, dropping jokes such as: “What this means now, is that Paul and I can be married.”
“The man who owns this network, Leslie Moonves, he and I have had a relationship for years and years and years, and we have had this conversation in the past, and we agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of this circumstance,” Letterman said. “And I phoned him just before the program, and I said ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great, the network has been great — but I’m retiring.'”
At that point, band leader Paul Shaffer interrupted Dave to ask if he had time to call his accountant.
“I just want to reiterate my thanks for the support from the network, all of the people who have worked here, all of the people in the theater, all the people on the staff, everybody at home, thank you very much,” the “Late Show” host added.
“We don’t have the timing of this precisely down — I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future, 2015 for the love of God, in fact, Paul and I will be wrapping things up and taking a hike,” Letterman concluded, to a standing ovation from the audience in the Ed Sullivan Theater.