I finally watched my DVR-d Letterman from Thursday night and saw his retirement announcement. It was classic Dave, the perfect mix of sincerity and insincerity, self-deprecation and self-aggrandizement. It was joyful and sad. The man is the most important entertainment figure of the past 30 years. He gave so many bands their first major exposure, when “alternative rock” was truly alternative and called “college rock.” He gave so many comedians the opportunity to be as weird as they wanted to be. He gave so many politicians and news makers the opportunity to show that they were real people. And most importantly, he created a postmodern irony, breaking down the wall between performers and audience with a wink and nod — and a sneer. I am as sad to write this as I am happy to have enjoyed his show all these years. From a junior high school kid who sneaked into the family room at 12:30 every night to watch NBC’s Late Night, to the 22-year-old NBC page who got to be a small part of the last Late Night shows at NBC, to the adult who stays up for CBS’ Late Show whenever I’m not too exhausted, Dave has been a part of my life. He will be missed.

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