Inside David Letterman's 'Late Show' farewell: How the late-night legend will say goodbye

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Inside David Letterman's Last 'Late Show': How the Late-Night Legend Will Say Goodbye


Ray Romano is hosting a special tribute for David Letterman airing Monday on CBS, but today Ray is giving ET insight into how Letterman affected his career.

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"A lot of people have been affected by Dave, but I don't think anyone in show business more than me," Romano told ET's Brooke Anderson. "I don't think a lot of the public knows that he was the reason that I had a sitcom. After 11 years of standup, I got my first Letterman spot. After that spot, he signed me to a deal to develop a show. That show was Everybody Loves Raymond."

Romano first appeared on Late Show in 1995. Now, 20 years later, Romano will assist in Letterman's grand sendoff. Fans will see it all in Monday's tribute, including Stupid Human Tricks and Letterman's best Top Ten lists.

"You're going to see people who were on in '82," Romano said. "You see them over the years getting older. And some of the stuff that Dave doesn't do anymore."

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In his 33 years as a late-night host, Letterman has led more than 6,000 shows. The icon has been around long enough to have some of his first young viewers become his contemporaries.

"He recognizes because of his age and how he lines up with the other late-night hosts that he's competing with," The New York Times' Dave Itzkoff said. "Younger people like Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon that the audience is starting to go elsewhere and they want to see hosts of a different stripe and he knows he can't keep up with it forever."

The guest list for Letterman's remaining episodes is extraordinary: Bill Murray, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jack Hanna, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Keaton, Steve Martin, Don Rickles and Martin Short to name a few.

Like he has done for the past three decades, when the final episode comes around on May 20, Letterman will make it his own.

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"I did ask him if he was going to take any cues from Johnny Carson, which was very memorable because it was just Johnny sitting on a stool essentially talking to his audience," Itzkoff said. "Letterman said that he doesn't want to copy that."

David Letterman: A Life on Television airs May 4 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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David Letterman's fashion over the years
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Inside David Letterman's 'Late Show' farewell: How the late-night legend will say goodbye
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: Guest host David Letterman on March 26, 1979 -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 8: MORK AND MINDY. David Letterman as Ellsworth in ' Mork goes Erk'. Original airdate February 8, 1979. Image is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW -- Season 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) -- Host David Letterman, cast/writers Edie McClurg, Valri Bromfield, Gerard Mulligan (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW -- Pictured: Host David Letterman with guests -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW -- Season 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) -- Host David Letterman in Shubert Alley (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
David Letterman during 39th Annual Emmy Awards - September 20, 1987 at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, United States. (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
David Letterman during The 37th Annual Emmy Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, CA, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1983: Host David Letterman poses for a portrait in c.1983 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 19: NBC Newsman Edwin Newman and David Letterman on the David Letterman show. (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 01: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and David Letterman (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: Guest host David Letterman on March 26, 1979 -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
UNITED STATES - APRIL 01: David Letterman with Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JULY 7: Headshot of David Letterman for the show, 'Mary.' Image dated July 7, 1978. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 26: Comedian Joan Rivers shares a laugh with Dave when she visits the Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday Feb. 26, 2013 on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS via Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Jay Leno, host David Letterman -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Portrait of American talk show host David Letterman smiling at his home, Westchester County, New York, March 1984. (Photo by Susan Wood/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 01: David Letterman (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW -- Season 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) -- Host David Letterman (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW -- Episode 36 -- Pictured: (l-r) President Jimmy Carter's son James 'Chip' Carter, host David Letterman on August 11, 1980 -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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