Top 10 Other Guests We Hope to See on David Letterman Before He Retires
Who we want to see on The Late Show before Dave retires…
Check the late-night TV listings on Thursday, May 21 and you’ll spot a noticeable omission: for the first time in 33 years, David Letterman’s name won’t be among them.
However before Dave steps away from the desk for good he’s lined up a roster of A-list friends to drop in for one final laugh, including Oprah, Don Rickles, Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, George Clooney and Bill Murray – who we’re betting will serve as the final guest, given he was the first and last guest on Letterman’s old Late Night show, and the first guest on The Late Show.
10. Cher: Some of Dave’s most memorable moments occurred when a guest just didn’t feel like co-operating (see: Crispin Glover, Joaquin Phoenix, etc.). In May of 1986, however, Cher, as she tends to do in most walks of life, took it to a whole new level. Dave notes during his intro that it “took my guest four years to appear on [Late Night],” and it doesn’t take long to figure out why. Dave starts the interview by complimenting Cher on her perfume, to which she quips, “Is this as good as it gets?” Then, after he prompts her for her reason for waiting so long to appear on the show, she says it’s because she thought Dave was an a**hole.
9. The Foo Fighters: True, the band did a min-residency last October, performing for a week straight on The Late Show, but given they’re one of Dave’s favourite bands it’d be great to see them play him off. During that October stint they played their song “Miracle,” which Dave noted “will always have great, great meaning to me for the rest of my life.” It stems from a video a ski instructor made of Dave and his then-four-year-old son hitting the slopes for the first time, which was set to the same song. Dave got a little teary-eyed near the end of the performance, and it’s clear his connection to the band goes far beyond music.
8. Jungle Jack Hanna: Poor Jack Hanna. The famed Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium couldn’t be a more gentle soul – always kind, soft-spoken and eager to bring a wider knowledge of the animal kingdom to viewers during his numerous Late Show appearances. However, he takes his job very seriously – as he should – and as a result seems to have difficulty lightening up on TV. It makes him a perfect foil for Dave, who seems to revel in poking fun at Hanna every opportunity he gets. Beneath it all, though, it’s clear Dave holds Hanna in high esteem, making him a recurring guest on the Late Show for years.
7. Betty White: Not only does everyone love Betty White, but she makes for a great talk show guest. She’s funny, smart, lovable and she knows how to party. During a 2011 appearance on Letterman, White listed “vodka” as a hobby. On cue, the host pulled out two tumblers and a bottle of booze and the pair toasted and took a swig.
6. Madonna: Cher’s aforementioned appearance on Letterman was bad, but Madonna’s infamous 1994 appearance on the Late Show actually set a record for “the most censored [episode] in American network television talk-show history,” thanks to a litany of f-bombs (14 to be exact) and sexual innuendo. Madonna’s appeared on the show since then and she gets along fine now with the host. But given that she’s still pushing the boundaries – whether combating ageism or smooching with Drake on stage – the Material Girl always proves a provocative guest. Even, of course, without all the f-bombs.
5. George W. Bush: “President Bush is going to establish elections there in Iraq. He’s going to rebuild the infrastructure. He’s going to create jobs. He said if it works there, he’ll try it here.” – David Letterman
This former President of the United States is without a doubt Dave’s favourite comedy foil. Bush, for his part, has always seemed to have a good sense of humour about it and it’d be great to see the two side-by-side, discussing the punch lines and their own relationship one more time before Dave signs off.
4. Hillary Clinton: Letterman’s no stranger to politicos. Every living former president, as well as the current president, has sat next to Dave’s desk at one time or another, as have numerous White House hopefuls. Despite his self-deprecating humour, the host has proven he can hold his own in an entertaining conversation with anyone from Bill Clinton to Ronald Reagan.
With Hillary Clinton shaping up for an historic presidential run, it’d only be fitting for the former Secretary of State/Senator/First Lady to make one last appearance on the show. Plus, research shows late night talk shows are increasingly important campaign stops for candidates. After all, as Dave likes to quip, “The road to the White House runs through me.”
3. Richard Simmons: From being endlessly mocked for his matching sequined shorts and tank top combos to getting sprayed with a fire extinguisher, Letterman makes Richard Simmons sweat more than the oldies ever have. Audiences know that when Simmons is on anything can happen, which is exactly why he needs to make one more appearance on the Late Show.
2. Regis Philbin: Regis and Dave have a lot in common – they’re both broadcasting legends, they’re both New York institutions and they’re both commonly known by their first names. In real life the two are also good friends and their respect and admiration for each other is genuine and longstanding. It’s almost a sure bet that Regis will indeed make one final appearance on the show – an appearance that will prove the final television pairing of two of the biggest stars in the history of the talk show genre. And speaking of famous talk show pairings …
1. Jay Leno: It’s almost guaranteed that Dave’s biggest late night rival, both on and off camera, will make an appearance on the Late Show before Dave signs off. Despite the real-life tension between the two over the years, there’s an underlying respect that each holds for the other that dates back to their early comedy days. The duo paired with Oprah for a famous Super Bowl ad in 2010 and rumours are already swirling that Leno is in talks to appear on the Late Show.
Two generations ago, Ed Sullivan helped define the talk show format, followed by the Carson era. Dave and Jay have defined late night in the two decades since. To see them share the stage one time before they’ve both hung up their microphones for good would not only be a piece of television history, but closure for fans who’ve followed the careers of both over the years. And maybe it would finally, after all this time, put their feud to bed.