For David Letterman fans, it may have been the kindest cut of all: His beard is history.
The late-night funnyman had the bushy beard he grew while off the air during the strike by the Writers Guild of America shaved Monday on his "Late Show." One barber buzzed the beard with an electric razor; the next one lathered him up and finished the job with a straight razor.
"We have to say goodbye to an old friend tonight, and I'm just sick about it," Letterman said.
He said he was "being pressured" to shave, although he wouldn't say by whom. Not shaving added 15 minutes to his day that he could use to goof off, he said.
He had fun with newspaper photos and cartoons about his beard, including one in which a couple sat at home watching his show. "Shhh," one said to the other. "He's about to do his opening fatwa."
Guest Tom Hanks brought Letterman a first-aid kit for a small cut above the lip.
"Shaving beards on TV," Hanks said. "That's what shows without writers do."
Letterman's show and others recently reached a deal that allowed their writers to return to work.
ETA: Thank you to sanrioboy for finding the video: