With David Letterman retiring, there will be a gap in late-night television ["Letterman opens up about rivalry with Leno," News, May 13].

He managed to be completely ahead of his time while also being retro. He learned from all the masters who came before him, with his strongest influence being Johnny Carson, yet he remained true to who he was. In comedy, contradictions are often a pathway to funny.

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Viewers and his guests had something in common. Letterman was the host we knew and loved, yet we never really knew who he truly was. He managed to exude an electric energy and maintain an air of calm. At times he was aloof, and other times he was accessible.

Letterman could be slapstick funny or smart funny. His humor was subtle and overt. He's the cool funny guy partly because he was so dismissive about being the cool funny guy. He was confident in his skin and awkward about that confidence.

Irreverent, funny, intelligent, trusting, original, intuitive and loyal. This describes who Letterman was to many of us. Through that gap in those teeth, he made us laugh absolutely.

Steven Taub, Melville

Editor's note: The writer works as a television and video producer and director.