David Letterman still has over a month left in his historic late-night run, but Late Show favorite Billy Crystal gave his friend an early send-off on Tuesday’s episode. Borrowing the tune from Fiddler on the Roof‘s “Sunrise Sunset,” the comic-actor sang a nostalgic ballad about Letterman’s 33-year tenure, as iconic images from the show flash on the screen. “You’re my best friend on television,” Crystal tells Letterman in the above clip. “And what I can’t put into words I’d like to put into a song.”
“You survived shingles and a bypass / proving you actually had a heart,” Crystal croons over the dramatic waltz. “Three decades as the king of late night / Soon, you’ll be wandering ’round a mall / Carson loved you; Leno shoved you / Still you rose above / It’s true Cher called you an ‘asshole,’ but you’re the asshole that we love.”
Other highlights include Madonna dropping F-bombs, Sir Paul McCartney performing his hits and Drew Barrymore flashing her breasts. “Now late night’s jammed with all the Jimmys,” Crystal sings, cueing up a shot of Letterman as 1994’s “Man of the Year” on the cover of Rolling Stone. “They’re just the princes — you’re the king.”
Letterman’s final Late Show will air Wednesday, May 20th. Earlier this week, CBS announced a tentative guest list for the last month-plus, including Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Murray, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Howard Stern, Paul Rudd, Michael Keaton, Bruce Willis, Martin Short, John Travolta, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Scarlett Johansson, Don Rickles, Ray Romano, Robert Downey Jr. and animal expert Jack Hanna. Musical performers will include Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Mumford & Sons and Tom Waits.
In April, CBS announced that Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert would be Letterman’s successor. He’s scheduled to take over Late Show hosting duties starting Tuesday, September 8th.