David Letterman was treated like royalty on Monday when he returned to The Late Show.
But this time, the iconic comedian and late-night talk show host sat down as a guest with current host Stephen Colbert.
Letterman, 76, took the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City to loud applause from the audience.
During their conversation, the veteran host marveled at how much the studio had changed since he sat behind the desk.
Letterman also put to bed rumors that there was tension between himself and Colbert when he immediately congratulated him and his team.
Big return: David Letterman, 76, stopped by his old talk show The Late Show on Monday for a chat with Stephen Colbert
Good relations: Letterman put to bed rumors that there was tension between himself and Colbert when he immediately congratulated him and his team
“Congratulations on the great success you and your staff have had,” he said kindly to an obviously moved Colbert after he sat down.
Letterman joked about how the studio had turned into a “mall” in his absence, comparing it to Beverly Hills’ chic Rodeo Drive.
He also joked that the dressing room was now nicer than the fanciest hotel he had ever stayed in, and he was shocked that there was even a menu where he could order snacks before filming.
After Colbert said he’d only hosted about a quarter of Letterman’s records, he asked the bushy-haired comedian what he “missed” most.
“I miss everything,” Letterman said. ‘It’s mostly fun.’
“There are few things in life that give you the opportunity,” he continued. “And I can’t speak for you or to you on this subject, but for me, if you mess one up, you get to try again 24 hours later, and that’s a pretty good device.
“Then when you do something you’re really proud of, you think, ‘My God, let’s do that again!’ he added.
Colbert went on to ask Letterman if he ever had other late night hosts he could talk to when he needed advice.
What a difference: Letterman joked about how the studio had turned into a “mall” in his absence, comparing it to Beverly Hills’ chic Rodeo Drive; revisited in 2010
Old times: After Colbert said he’d only hosted about a quarter of Letterman’s records, he asked the bushy-haired, bearded comedian what he “missed” most
Glory Days: “I miss everything,” Letterman said. ‘It’s mostly fun’
He mentioned his Daily Show colleague Jon Stewart as someone he could lean on.
Letterman made it clear that Johnny Carson did not have the same advisory role for him.
‘Johnny is/was Mount Olympus. You didn’t just call Johnny and say, ‘Hey Johnny. How are you? What do you think, should I do this? What about the color of socks? Are they okay, Johnny?’” he explained.
“So no, I was pretty much alone,” he added, as the audience sighed sadly. “I was an orphan in the talk show world.”
He then jokingly told the audience, “I don’t appreciate the sarcasm.”
Letterman concluded his good relationship with Colbert by looking at a photo they had taken almost a decade earlier.
The Colbert Report host released a framed selfie he took with the former Late Show host in 2014, when he visited as a guest while Letterman was still hosting, a year before he was set to take the reins.
“This is great because I wanted to ask you if you could take a picture with me at the counter,” Letterman replied. ‘Do you mind?’
On his own: Letterman told Colbert that he couldn’t turn to Johnny Carson for advice like he does with Jon Stewart. “I was an orphan in the talk show world,” he said
Colbert responded, “Let’s do it.”
But when they were done, they switched places so that Letterman was back behind the desk while Colbert sat on the left.
Earlier in the interview, Colbert shared with the audience that his predecessor confessed that he had always wanted to try to sit where the desk was currently located, as he had placed it on the opposite side of the studio during his tenure.
When Colbert first offered him the chance to try out the chair, he joked that he was no longer interested, but was still given a chance to sit behind the desk again for the selfie retake.