Watch The National Play Colbert At David Letterman’s Request
David Letterman created the CBS institution known as The Late Show, and he hosted it for 22 years before retiring in 2015. Stephen Colbert is Letterman’s immediate successor, and he’s been hosting the show for seven years now. In that time, Letterman had never been back to visit his old show or his studio until last night. Soon after he finished his run, Letterman said that CBS had never consulted him about picking the next host, and there was some perceived bitterness about that. Last night, Letterman finally made his grand return to The Late Show, where he sat down with Colbert for most of the episode. Letterman had a few requests, and one of them was this: He wanted the National to perform.
As The New York Times points out, David Letterman recently showed up on Strike Force Five, a podcast that Stephen Colbert and his late-night colleagues started during the writers’ strike. Letterman and Colbert got a chance to talk things out, and that paved the way for Letterman to appear in the Ed Sullivan Theater for the first time in eight years.
During the interview, Stephen Colbert asked David Letterman about some of his favorite musical moments on the show, and Letterman singled out Green Day’s Tre Cool:
Whenever Green Day would be on, I was frightened by the drummer. Because whenever they would finish, he would charge the desk and lunge at me, to the point where I assumed he was kidding around, or perhaps he actually wanted to hurt me. But looking back at that now, I’m just like, “Wow, what a great experience that was!”
David Letterman recently spoke about how much he loves the National, even claiming that he wants to be Matt Berninger. On the episode, Letterman continued to wax rhapsodic about the National:
I said, “What about the National?” Because I had just spent some time with them recently and I’d been to a show recently and really just kind of fallen in love with their music. It’s tremendous… They did two shows in Mumbai last night, but they’re here.
(The National actually were only in Texas a couple nights ago.) The band recently released Laugh Track, their second album of 2023, and they performed a stentorian take on “Space Invader.” Here’s the performance and the music-related part of the Letterman interview, where he gets a chance to sit down at his old desk once again:
Laugh Track is out now on 4AD. It’s impressive that David Letterman likes it so much, since the man never needed a laugh track.