David Letterman steps down from his 33-year reign as the King of Late Night tonight. But how did he get there?
Letterman started his storied career as a radio DJ for Ball State University’s WBST. In 1966, he was part of a new team announcing election returns, but he was later fired for his “irreverent treatment of classical music.”
In 1975, Letterman moved to L.A. and started performing regularly at The Comedy Store. In this interview from the archives, Letterman is predictably self-deprecating about his work ethic.
In 1977, Letterman hosted a pilot of the game show called The Riddlers. It never got picked up.
By then, other comedians were taking notice. In January 1978, Letterman was cast in a comedy special spoof of news magazine programs. The show, Peeping Times, was written by Rudy De Luca and Barry Levinson, and co-executive produced by David Frost.