The comedian has visited many shows in the past eight years — but not, until Monday night, the one he hosted for 22 years.
It started much like the way it ended for David Letterman.
There he came, striding onto the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater on Monday night, to a standing ovation and a chorus of chants of “Da-vid! Da-vid!”
The only difference this time was that Mr. Letterman, in a full gray beard, was a guest of “The Late Show,” and Stephen Colbert, its host since 2015, led him to a chair that was not behind a desk.
“Stephen,” Mr. Letterman said as he sat down. “Control your people!”
Mr. Letterman’s appearance on “The Late Show” — the series he began for CBS in 1993 and hosted until Mr. Colbert replaced him — brought some resolution to one of the odder mysteries in show business: Why wouldn’t he visit with his successor?
Mr. Letterman has been no stranger to the limelight since he stepped down from his late-night gig. He hosts his own Netflix long-form interview show, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” and he has visited plenty of other shows. He has done Jimmy Kimmel’s ABC show several times; Seth Meyers’s late night show; Ellen DeGeneres’s daytime talk show; Howard Stern’s radio show; Dax Shepard’s podcast; Marc Maron’s podcast; Conan O’Brien’s podcast. He even did the Busy Philipps podcast.
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