David Letterman made his return to late-night television on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday (Oct. 17) to discuss the unusual gift he gave Conan O'Brien. Kicking off day two of the show's "Brooklyn Week," the retired talk show veteran of more than 30 years was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience, and joked right off the bat that "it was just good to get out of the house" and to "see famous people again."
He explained that when he was "either fired, or retired," (a running gag throughout his appearance) he wanted to spread the love to all the late-night talk show hosts — "even Jimmy Fallon," he joked — by sending them gifts. As Conan O'Brien revealed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Friday (Oct. 13), he sent O'Brien a horse named, of course, Dave.
He explained the thought behind the unique gift. "The idea will be that he'll have the horse and the horse will take a dump on the show and it will be hilarious," he said. "So two or three days later I realize that things have gone terribly wrong," Letterman said, explaining that he received a "lovely" letter from O'Brien saying that his wife loves the horse and will keep it. "So now I'm screwed because I was counting on him returning the horse and I would get my money back," the former host joked.
He said he ultimately forgot the incident until O'Brien's Late Show appearance the other day. Poking fun at O'Brien's demeanor during the show, Letterman joked, "Now it's like he's losing his mind." He continued, "From what I infer, Conan will not shut up about the horse, and something happened and the horse went crazy, maybe from being around Conan all day." Letterman said his ultimate takeaway is that "no good deed goes unpunished." To which Kimmel suggested, "When in doubt, an Edible Arrangement is a good gift."
See photos of David Letterman:
David Letterman, Late Night, through the years
David Letterman, Late Night, through the years
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: US Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore (R) with talk show host David Letterman 14 September, 2000 after the taping of Letterman's show at the Sullivan Theater in New York City. AFP PHOTO/ Luke FRAZZA (Photo credit should read LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Republican presidental candidate and Texas Governor George W. Bush (L) poses for photographers with David Letterman after concluding taping of the 19 October 2000 Late Show with David Letterman in New York. Bush read the Top Ten list poking fun at what he might do if elected. AFP Photo by Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - DECEMBER 24: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, 'Late Show' television host David Letterman entertains soldiers at the Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters December 24, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo by Reynaldo Ramon/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 7: Tina Fey takes off her dress after her last appearance on the CBS Late Show with David Letterman, Thursday May 7, 2015 on the CBS Television Network (Photo by John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty Images)
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Letterman also talked about his new Netflix talk show. He wouldn't divulge details — including if the show will have a studio audience or what the title will be — but did say, "We're looking for interesting guests," and threw Howard Stern's name into the mix as a possibility. The former host also poked fun at himelf and his long beard, saying that the logline for tonight's episode will read "tonight Jimmy talks to an aging vagrant." He also reminisced on his television days. When asked if he misses it, he replied, "Some parts... no I don't. I miss wearing makeup."
Now that he's retired, he said he feels like a different person. "The great struggle in life is to be better each and every day. And if you take a look around the horizon of humanity, my god, is there anything we can do, big or small, to make the life of just one person a little bit better?" he said.
On Monday night's show, Kimmel kicked off "Brooklyn Week," paying homage to the town in which he was born by broadcasting live from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. To make the week more special, Kimmel enlisted help from Paul Shaffer, the former Late Show musical director and “kick at David Letterman’s side” for 33 years. In his opening monologue on Tuesday, Kimmel joked that Schaffer was the reason Letterman agreed to do the show on Tuesday. "We kidnapped Paul and said 'you’d better show up,'" Kimmel said.
Watch the full interview above.
See photos of Jimmy Kimmel:
Jimmy Kimmel through the years
Jimmy Kimmel through the years
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 20: Comedian Jimmy Kimmel arrives at the 2nd Annual Rebels With A Cause Gala at Paramount Studios on March 20, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama talks with Jimmy Kimmel during a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live in Los Angeles, California, March 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 11: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Host Jimmy Kimmel (L) and Molly McNearney attend The Inaugural Diamond Ball presented by Rihanna and The Clara Lionel Foundation at The Vineyard on December 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Clara Lionel Foundation)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 11: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Recording artist Rihanna (L) and host Jimmy Kimmel attend The Inaugural Diamond Ball presented by Rihanna and The Clara Lionel Foundation at The Vineyard on December 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Clara Lionel Foundation)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 04: TV personality Jimmy Kimmel (L) and writer Molly McNearney attend the 2014 GQ Men Of The Year party at Chateau Marmont on December 4, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for GQ)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Television personality Jimmy Kimmel attends Clayton Kershaw's 2nd Annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose charity event benefiting 'Kershaw's Challenge' at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Honoree Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during Variety's 4th Annual Power of Comedy presented by Xbox One benefiting the Noreen Fraser Foundation at Avalon on November 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Variety)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Honoree Jimmy Kimmel attends Variety's 4th Annual Power of Comedy presented by Xbox One benefiting the Noreen Fraser Foundation at Avalon on November 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Variety)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Honoree Jimmy Kimmel attends Variety's 4th Annual Power of Comedy presented by Xbox One benefiting the Noreen Fraser Foundation at Avalon on November 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Variety)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 02: Television personality Jimmy Kimmel, wearing Gucci, and writer Molly McNearney attend the LACMA 2013 Art + Film Gala honoring Martin Scorsese and David Hockney presented by Gucci at LACMA on November 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for LACMA)
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 08: Tv personality Jimmy Kimmel accepts an award onstage during Spike TV's Guys Choice 2013 at Sony Pictures Studios on June 8, 2013 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Spike TV)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 19: Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel receives an honorary degree from UNLV during the university's 50th commencement ceremony at the Thomas & Mack Center on May 19, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sam Morris/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 27: Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage at the '64th Primetime Emmy Awards' panel during the Disney/ABC Television Group portion of the 2012 Summer TCA Tour on July 27, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Television host Jimmy Kimmel visits the press room of the White House in Washington on April 27, 2012. Kimmel will host the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on April 28. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 29: TV show host Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education's 16th Grand Slam for Children benefit concert at the Wynn Las Vegas on October 29, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event raises funds to help improve education for underserved youth in the Las Vegas community. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: TV show host's Jimmy Kimmel (L) and Jimmy Fallon speak onstage during the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on September 18, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Jimmy Kimmel hosts the 2006 American Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium November 21, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MAY 20: (US TABS AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Television personality Jimmy Kimmel works a live auction at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation's 'A Taste of Napa' 11th annual fundraiser on May 20, 2006 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - JULY 09: Baseball legend Gary Carter (L) and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel laugh before the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at PNC Park on July 9, 2006 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)