"I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight".
Carson was 66 when he retired; Letterman is now 70 - but the old dog has some new tricks. "I'm sitting there, just toiling away at this thing".
Late night has, by the way, a whole lot of talent in its current, super crowded neighborhood, but there will always be something special about Letterman for those who spent their formative late night years with him, as there was for those prior who did the same with Johnny Carson. But he added that the point of the show was a welcome one: to allow a more serious Letterman to come through.
"One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don't share a common baseline of facts", the 44th president told Letterman for his new Netflix series, "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction". "I was pretty pathetic".
Former President Obama and David Letterman have both been reclusive since leaving their respective jobs, but a casually dressed ex-president and hirsute ex-talk show host re-entered the public eye together in the debut of Letterman's new Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. This is Dave, unplugged.
He was clearly pleased as punch with his scoop, and initially the programme seemed a bit too self-congratulatory, as the two swopped bromance-y anecdotes about how they were filling the time these days and how uncool their children find them.
A subsequent communique from Netflix p.r. described the Obama interview: "In the interview, Obama discusses his family, life after the presidency and what he views as the pressing issues facing our country".
Letterman bid his final, emotional farewell on the CBS late-night show on May 20, 2015 in front of the studio audience and a huge 13.76 million viewers, paying tribute to his wife, Regina, and son, Harry, 11.
The first episode of "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman" premieres January 12, Friday, on Netflix.
My Next Guest's format is largely what fans likely expected: Letterman and his guest speak on a sparse, unadorned stage before a live audience. "Something's wrong here", Letterman quipped.
A few months ago I saw Letterman interview Al Franken here in NY, a bit before Franken's current controversies. Letterman's show, on the other hand, promised to go deeper: intimate, in-depth interviews with whomever Letterman deemed interesting, regardless of the topic of the day.
"In basically ignoring the ever looming current President of the United States on another s**tstorm of a day, the pre-taped result from last fall was primarily a warm, fuzzy, and sauntering up on boring chat between two well-spoken men who obviously like and respect each other and didn't want to cause each other any possible grief", Deadline's Dominic Patten wrote.
The bridge was also the site of one of Obama's most memorable speeches, delivered on the 50th anniversary of the march.