as much as me.
In the 1980's, I recorded Letterman's show every night, then dubbed the sweetest material onto a 'best of' tape I would later use, as needed, for inspiration. There was nobody like Letterman. He was fresh, edgy, and irreverent. People loved him, people hated him, and most didn't understand that those emotions are pretty much the same. Letterman elicited passion from his audience.
For those of us who love the Letterman of the 80's and 90's, the Late Show with David Letterman is kind of sad to watch today. After 32 years, and at age 67, I'm sure Dave is tapped for ideas and getting tired, but most of his interviews show it. He has had some amazing moments, but you don't see them as often today. He's doing the right thing. Late night television is transitioning to a fresh, young crop of entertainers, and Dave isn't motivated to compete with "the Jimmies", Seth and Conan.
But what a run. I'm sure Dave never thought he'd be as legendary as Johnny Carson, but he is. The Letterman era managed to move the goal posts. It will be difficult to beat, but that's the good part, nobody has to. Like Johnny Carson, nobody will fill the shoes of Letterman. It simply cannot be done.
As Carson did with Carnac, and as Jimmy Fallon does with thank you notes, Colbert can keep his persona alive. On Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he can do The Colbert Report as its own segment. His monologue, interviews, other bits and performances can follow the more formulaic talk show modus operandi. But the Colbert Report needn't be lost. It can remain as funny and relevant as ever within its new format.
See? No need to fret. Colbert can still be Col-BEAR and do the re-PORE. You're welcome. Now come in from the ledge.