David Letterman, comedic curmudgeon, hangs it up

It leaked out today that David Letterman is retiring.

He never reached the iconic comedic level of his late-night predecessor, Johnny Carson, but who could?

Still, his post-Carson show on NBC in the ’80s broke plenty of comedic ground in its own right. But NBC’s choice to replace Carson with Jay Leno, sent Letterman scurrying off to CBS, where he exchanged the chinos-and-sneakers look for the finely tailored suits befitting his income and status.

It was never quite the same, however.

And how could you ever top convincing Teri Garr to take a shower, though Letterman spent nearly 30 years trying.

His show created stars out of his writers, like Chris Elliot.

Letterman will always have a special place in the hearts of Minnesota viewers, if only because it’s the place where Don Shelby declared on national TV that he had a gopher in his pants named Carlos.

Letterman was also the place where musical groups not yet mainstream enough for the boring world of radio could get a little attention. But that reflected more the brilliance of Paul Shaffer, who was about as well connected a musician as they come.