I had the good fortune to have a big sit down with Jimmy Kimmel back in January at his office in Hollywood. We touched on a lot of things, one being David Letterman’s imminent retirement. Letterman’s last Late Show–which will feature his favourite band The Foo Fighters–airs Wednesday night at 11:35 on CBS and OMNI1.

“It makes me very sad I have to say,” said Kimmel, “because he’s been on TV for almost my whole life and he means so much to me that its depressing. I will be very sad to see him go.”

That was five months ago. Now the day is here. Out of respect for Letterman, Kimmel talked ABC into pulling his show for the night and offering a rerun. He urged his viewers–particularly younger viewers who missed Dave at his peak–to tune in and see the last of Dave. As Kimmel told me then, “He’s the talk show host of our lifetime.”

Kimmel revealed just how into Letterman he was growing up. In the above video, check out the Late Night birthday cake his mom made him when he was a lad. When you see all these TV veterans start choking up–Kimmel’s the guy from The Man Show for heaven’s sakes–you begin to understand the profound impact Letterman had on a generation of comedians.

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