EW Staff
April 04, 2014 AT 01:30 PM EDT

It’s easy to forget: David Letterman took the formal late-night interview format and made it fun. Goofy, sarcastic, blunt, even. He was an innovator who played with the mechanics of the medium, a B.S.-free trailblazer.

Here, from the home office in Sioux City, Iowa, are the top 10 things we’ll miss:

10. He was doing viral video before there even was viral video.

9. Especially Stupid Pet Tricks, which made us howl.

8. He was and is the best interviewer in the business. Case in point:

7. While other late-night hosts eschewed sidekicks, Dave kept the spirit of McMahon alive with his goofy relationship with Paul Shaffer.

6. He didn’t hide behind laughter when it mattered most. 

5. The gap.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images; Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

4. He didn’t play by the rules of Hollywood. (Or Washington.)

3. He would never hold a grudge.

2. He was uniquely suited for the job.

1. The Top 10 List, of course.

–Reporting by Kristen Baldwin, James Hibberd, and Dan Snierson

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