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Jay Thomas takes one more shot at David Letterman's Christmas-tree meatball

LettermanFootballJayJesuit High School product Jay Thomas will topple his last Christmas-tree-topping late-night meatball Friday night (Dec. 19), concluding a longstanding holiday tradition on "The Late Show With David Letterman," scheduled to air at 10:35 p.m. on WWL-TV. Thomas does the deed with a football toss, an odd Letterman rite that dates to December 1998.

Friday's "Late Show" will also feature a Darlene Love performance of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," a Letterman tradition dating to 1986, as well as a just-a-guest-appearance by actor Josh Brolin.

Letterman is retiring next year, to be replaced by Stephen Colbert. Jay Thomas, meatball-slayer, will retire, too.

"It hasn't struck me yet," said Thomas during a recent phone interview from his California home. "It hasn't hit me. Maybe next year."

Thomas first felled the meatball (supplied by Rupert Jee's Hello-Deli) when then-New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde, another guest on the 1998 show, tried the stunt but missed.

The toss, later accompanied by Thomas re-recounting a weird encounter with "Lone Ranger" star Clayton Moore, became an almost-every-year thing.
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