Photo Credit: Alan Light
Dear Mr. Letterman,
I and Millions of American Viewers Will Miss You. I grew up in a small, Indiana town not far from your hometown of Indianapolis, IN. When I entered college in 1984, I began following your brilliant television career every night at 11:35 AM Central Time. You made me laugh with millions of other students in American college campuses. You reminded me five nights a week why I shouldn’t always take life, myself, or the status quo too seriously. I needed your funny, unique, and irreverent perspective during a difficult time in my life.
Immense Talent Is Not Enough. Real Success Requires Risk Taking, Guts, Hard Work, and Perseverance. In your rare interviews, I admire and respect when you talk about how you “packed up the truck and drove to Los Angeles” to pursue your dreams as a comedy writer, stand-up comedian, and broadcaster. You drove 2,000+ miles without any guarantees to live in a new city and start a new career. You made that life-altering decision without knowing what the future held and knew there was a high possibility of failure.
You Had To Know “If You Could Hit Major League Pitching.” You had to know if you had genuine, comedic talent. The type of talent that could get you booked on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show as a guest and guest host multiple times. The type of talent that would make Mr. Carson motion to a rising, young star to come over to his desk so he could bestow his blessing in front of a massive television audience.
The type of talent that’s too good to ignore.
That unique talent enabled you to achieve all of the above (and more). You hit major league pitching so well that a television network built you a beautifully refurbished stadium to perform and share your art — The Ed Sullivan Theatre.
You Transformed Late Night Television By Living Out Your Life Changing Decision on Your Terms. You idolized Mr. Carson, but you knew you could never be him. So, you stayed true to yourself (and hoped that the audience would follow).
We did. For three decades. We you followed because you held yourself to an incredibly high standard. Every day. Five nights a week. For 6,000+ broadcasts (when you include the old show at NBC).
How blessed we would all be if we held ourselves to the same higher standard and had the courage to do and pursue what we love most.
You Made It Look Easy. You wrapped our attention and captivated our imaginations with every word, punchline, and raised eyebrow. You made it look effortless.
That’s what the greatest artists do.
Thank You Mr. Letterman. Your long, career success for more than thirty years in a high wire, high stakes, unforgiving business is remarkable.
Long Live The King,
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