Which brings me to the only fan letter I have every written. In the year 2000, Dave had quintuple bypass surgery. This prompted me to click on a link on AOL (remember that?) that allowed me to send him a get-well card. I wrote a heartfelt message wishing him a speedy recovery, God’s blessings and that I was praying for him. After long seminary days of study and formation, I could always count on him sending me off to sleep with a smile. At that time there was genuine concern that he would not return, but he did with great fanfare so he could continue to read top ten lists, dump watermelons and other items off buildings, and continue to make people laugh. Over the last several years, Dave started to get a bit too political and I started praying a bit more at night and watching ESPN as I went off to sleep, but his announcement yesterday of his retirement still jolted me. I watched last night for the first time in a while and how he relayed the story of how he came to this decision was both hilarious and poignant. Despite his marital indiscretions, political leanings, and contempt for authority, what came through the screen was an imperfect human being just like me trying to connect with his audience (His return to TV after 9/11 is still one of the most moving, raw, and honest moments of television that I have ever seen).
Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, on this Lenten Blog, I post a clip of the Muppets singing a hilarious rendition of “O Danny Boy” and I caption it with “Jesus wants you to laugh.” Prayer and a lot of laughter got me through seminary, and most of that laughter came from David Letterman. As I was writing this last night, I pondered that part of living a good Christian life is making time for laughter. Not only is it the best medicine but it moves us to a genuine joy that God wants us to experience. Imperfect as he was, Dave brought me such joy every seminary night. So thank you David, and thank you for answering a question that has always baffled me: How many guys in Spiderman suits can you get into a New York City Jamba Juice?
To this day, this is still one of my favorite bits. I saw it this morning for the first time in years and still laughed as hard as I did back then. Enjoy!