Letterman, visiting Late Night with Seth Meyers in honor of the 40th anniversary of the launch of Late Night with David Letterman, was unlikely to go viral with his "perfectly low-key" interview, says Daniel D'Addario. "It exists for other reasons — at the risk of being heady, for higher reasons," says D'Addario. "Meyers’ work in sharing the stage made clear once again how cut out he is for his role. It’s not just that, practically alone among current hosts, Meyers has the chops to do an interview like this without making it all about himself. It’s that, in a seat a legend first occupied, Meyers balances irreverence with a sense of occasion. Tuesday’s broadcast was a little piece of TV history. And in Meyers’ hands, it was a conversation. A franchise whose initial greatness came from its host’s quirk and isolation became, thrillingly, a staging-ground for human connection." D'Addario adds: "To wit: Among the loveliest moments of the interview was Letterman paying tribute to the show’s in-house band, noting how bolstered he had felt to hear live music daily. This was Letterman in a reflective mood — wistfully describing the changes in his son, now a teenager, and praising Meyers’ work on the show. This latter point suggested how strange it may have felt for Letterman to be out of the game himself. And Meyers allowing him the space to be precisely that was a good indication of why, exactly, Meyers is Letterman’s heir for reasons beyond sharing the “Late Night” host’s chair. Meyers’ Late Night — by far the most cerebral of the current crop of after-hours programs on network TV — has the capacity to support a TV icon working through something small and complicated on the air. The passage of time is a strange thing to contemplate; it’s also the fundamental and unsolvable problem of life, and Meyers’ leavening it with warmth and wit made Letterman’s appearance very special indeed."
Seth Meyers put on a suit for the special occasion: "Seth was excited. It’s David Letterman!" says Andrew Sanford. "The man left an indelible mark on late-night. Meyers is now, technically, continuing that legacy. Meyers has been back in front of live audiences for months, and this is the first time he put on a suit. Every time he smiles you can see a wave of admiration emanating from his entire being. It’s not merely that he’s celebrating someone who used to do what he does. He’s celebrating someone he respects. The best part is that Letterman has the same respect for Meyers. He could easily lord himself over the host if he wanted to. instead, we see a softer, kinder David Letterman. He’s full of compliments, not just for Seth but for the band and the writers (Amber Ruffin and Jenny Hagel). Letterman spends almost the whole time dishing out compliments. He’s not concerned with his legacy, he just wants Meyers to know he’s doing a great job."
It was genuinely sort of sweet to see the snowy-bearded Letterman be so effusive about what Meyers has done with the old place: "In his long and storied television career, David Letterman has never been reticent about needling show business types, even if (or especially if) he worked for them," says Dennis Perkins. "So one might be forgiven for imagining that the 74-year-old Letterman would take a few potshots at this latest whippersnapper (48-year-old Seth Meyers) for having the temerity to still be sitting in Letterman’s old Late Night chair, metaphorically speaking. (Late Night With David Letterman shot in 30 Rockefeller Center’s studio 6A, while Meyers moved things up to 8G.) So it was genuinely sort of sweet to see the snowy-bearded Letterman be so effusive about what Meyers has done with the old place, singling out both Meyers’ in-house 8G Band and his recurring 'Jokes Seth Can’t Tell' segment with Late Night writers Amber Ruffin and Jenny Hagel. Telling Meyers, 'If I had that Amber and Jenny thing, I’d still be on the air,' Letterman expressed nothing but admiration for Meyers’ work in keeping the Late Night comedy train running, before deadpanning, 'Well, somewhere.'"