Norm Macdonald on David Letterman: ‘He Was My Father Figure’

Comedian tells Howard his emotional last “Late Show” appearance was “accidental”

Norm Macdonald didn't mean to make his final appearance on "Late Show" as emotional as it was, but during Monday morning's Stern Show he told Howard he couldn't help but say what he did about David Letterman.

Norm was selected to be the final stand-up act on Dave's show before his retirement from late-night television in May 2015. While he gave the audience plenty to laugh at that night, Norm also left those in the Ed Sullivan theater in tears with an emotional send-off, during which he told Dave that he loved him.

"It was accidental. I didn't go out there with that plan," Norm told Howard "I wanted to say something. It wasn't that." Norm explained how he had originally written something different than what he said on air. With a standing ovation from the audience, Letterman walked away from his desk, over to Norm, and thanked him for his kind words. The two men also had a private exchange that didn't wind up on television, but Norm told Howard that he wanted to keep what was said between him and Dave.

"I really felt like…he was my father figure," Norm said of Dave. "Letterman left a crater, not only for television but for popular culture."

According to Norm, it was an early appearance on Letterman's show that got him recognized by the powers that be at "Saturday Night Live." Adam Sandler had seen Norm on TV and told longtime "SNL" writer Jim Downey that he needed to see his set. Downey then recommended Norm to Lorne Michaels who determined his stand-up was so good, he didn't even need to go through a formal audition.

Watch Norm's final appearance on "Late Show With David Letterman" above.

Norm Macdonald's book, "Based on a True Story: A Memoir" is available in stores and online Sept. 20 and for Norm's touring dates click here .