David Letterman Tributes: Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert Salute Late-Night Legend

Host of CBS’ “Late Show” will be retiring after 33 years on May 20

Last Updated: May 19, 2015 @ 9:27 PM

Wednesday night marks David Letterman‘s final episode as host of the “Late Show,” and while tributes are sure to pour in over the coming days and weeks, a number of late-night personalities have already paid homage on various platforms.

Jimmy Fallon was the latest to salute the late-night veteran.

“I want to take a minute to talk about David Letterman, who I’m sure everyone here knows will be retiring after 33 years of innovation, fun and just plain weirdness — but mostly fun,” Fallon said to his viewers.

Fallon went on to recall his eighth grade teacher’s prediction in his school yearbook that he would replace Letterman on “Late Night” — which, indirectly, he did.

Despite the good times, he said he isn’t sure how to describe Letterman.

“I think he taught us how to do something smart and stupid for comedy,” Fallon said. “I’ll always remember that.”

Watch the full clip below or click here.

With “The Daily Show” off this week, host Jon Stewart took time last Thursday to honor Letterman. In a sentiment voiced by several other comedians, Stewart named Letterman an influential idol.

“He was, for me, and I think many comics of my generation, an incredible epiphany of how a talk show or how entertainment or how television could … for God’s sake, the man put a camera on a monkey,” he said. “It seems so simple now, but back then it was mind-blowing!”

He credits Letterman with being able to innovate while maintaining longevity, something Stewart acknowledged he was unable to do with “The Jon Stewart Show.”

But Letterman advised him at the time: “Do not confuse cancellation with failure,” Stewart said.

Stewart then ran a clip of Letterman’s appearance on the final episode of “The Jon Stewart Show” for the night’s Moment of Zen.

Watch the full clip below or click here.

When Letterman’s retirement was announced, Stephen Colbert remembered watching the show in his college days.

“‘Late Night’ debuted my first year in college,” he said. “I learned more from Dave than I did going to my classes — especially the ones I did not go to because I stayed up until 1:30 watching Dave.”

Set to take over “Late Night” as its new host starting Sept. 8, Colbert later made a joke at his own expense, saying “I do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair.”

Watch the full clip below or click here.

Conan O’Brien penned a letter in early May in Entertainment Weekly, raining praise on the man he refers to as a “comedic revolution.”

“I believe his innovations are up there with the light bulb and the Twix bar,” O’Brien said. “Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift.”

Jimmy Kimmel recalled for Time magazine that Letterman was his childhood hero.

“Every school night, I watched with the kind of simmering fervor described in newspaper profiles of teens who run away from home to fight for ISIS,” he said. “First period started at 7:35 AM, but Dave was more important than sleep.”

The final episode of “Late Show” airs May 20 on CBS.

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