The gap-toothed comic, a favorite of Johnny Carson, will hang up his Top Ten lists and Stupid Pet Tricks in 2015, he shared with the audience at the taping of Thursday’s “Late Show.”
Letterman said his first call was to CBS chief Les Moonves.
Letterman added, “We don’t have the timetable for this precisely down — I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not-too-distant future, 2015 for the love of God, in fact, Paul [Shaffer] and I will be wrapping things up,” he added, to a standing ovation from the audience at the Ed Sullivan Theater.
“And I phoned him just before the program, and I said, ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great, and the network has been great, but I’m retiring,’” said Letterman, who debuted on NBC’s “Late Night” in 1982.
After thanking the network, his staff and his fans, he cracked, “What this means now, is that Paul and I can be married.”
Mike Mills, bassist for musical guest REM, broke the news on Twitter.