Revisiting David Letterman’s Christmas Traditions: Jay Thomas, Darlene Love, and Meatballs
It's hard to believe that David Letterman has been off of late-night television for nearly five years now. When Letterman left television, one of the greatest annual Christmas traditions went with him.
I know what you're thinking: Letterman Christmas tradition?
Yes! Every year on the Friday before Christmas, Letterman would schedule two guests who every year performed the same routines every year.
The first guest was Jay Thomas. The comedian and occasional Cheers guest star would begin his segments by telling the story of his encounter with the Lone Ranger. He would follow that up with the annual Late Show Quarterback Challenge, in which he and Letterman would attempt to knock a meatball off the top of a Christmas tree.
The other Letterman tradition dated back to his days hosting Late Night on NBC. The great Darlene Love would close the show performing her classic holiday tune "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." Love performed on Letterman's final pre-Christmas show every year from 1986 to 2014 except for 2007. That year, Letterman, who regarded Love's appearance as his favorite part of Christmas, aired the previous year's performance.
Even though Letterman is no longer on the air, the clips live online so we can all enjoy this tradition as time goes on.