7:00am PT by Ashley Lee
Watch Jimmy Kimmel's Emotional Tribute to David Letterman: "Totally Original" and "The Best" (Video)
Jimmy Kimmel held back tears as he paid tribute to departing Late Show host David Letterman on Tuesday night.
"If you watched it without paying attention, it was a lot like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, with guests and an audience and a band, but it was weird," said Kimmel. "Even though it looked like every other talk show, it wasn't. It was totally original, primarily because the host of the show ... a lot of the time seemed embarrassed to even be there. He did not seem like he was a part of show business, he was uncomfortable, he never pretended to be excited and his way of saying things was so subtle that a lot of the time, the people he was talking to didn't know he was joking."
Kimmel then noted one of his favorite examples of Letterman's comedic style, and revealed how the host's influence permeated his childhood via viewing parties, vanity plates and birthday cakes.
"Looking back, I've now figured out why none of the girls at school wanted to have sex with me — I watched the show every night; I never missed it. And little did I know, many years and many pounds later, that watching the show was a great education for me," he said, as ABC hired him for his own late-night gig after seeing him as Letterman's guest.
"We will have a show tomorrow night, it'll be a rerun — please do not watch it, especially if you're a young person who doesn't understand what all the fuss is about," stressed Kimmel, asking viewers to tune into Letterman's farewell show instead. "Dave is the best, and you should see him."
Jimmy Kimmel Live! bandleader Cleto Escobedo then said of his counterpart Paul Shaffer, "Any of us that are fortunate enough to have a job like this owe a lot to Paul. I believe he's the gold standard. He's been so generous and kind to us over the years."
Watch the video below.