11/05/2003 at 01:00 AM EST
David Letterman became a father at 11:58 p.m. Monday night, the host of "Late Show" announced on his CBS program Tuesday night. And acting uncharacteristically personal and emotional, he added: "I could never imagine ever being a part of something that turned out this beautiful."
Letterman was missing from the show Monday because his longtime companion, Regina Lasko, had gone into labor. In his place sat bandleader Paul Shaffer, who delivered the news on the air that Dave was expecting the delivery of his baby. (Published reports say the birth took place at Manhattan's New York Hospital.)
Letterman, 56, said the new arrival weighs 9 lbs. 11 oz. and is 21 inches long. Then came Letterman's joke (referring to Michael Jackson's past antics): "Maybe I shouldn't have done this first thing. I took him home and dangled him over the balcony."
But then Letterman grew serious. "Here's the name of the boy. I named him after my father. My father ... passed away when he was 57. I'm 56 years old and yesterday I had my first child. So I named him for my father and his name is Harry Joseph Letterman. So God bless Dad, and God bless Harry," said Letterman.
And, for the record, Tuesday's "Top 10 Reasons Dave's Excited to Be a Father":
10. Instead of, "You suck, Dave," I can look forward to, "You suck, Dad."
9. All of America will get to watch him grow up on television, just like Cody Gifford!
8. My used hairpieces will make cuddly, fuzzy pals.
7. Only the most coldhearted state trooper would ticket a guy with an adorable baby.
6. Asking Mom to watch baby perfect way to keep her away from dog track.
5. I stocked up on moist towelettes from the hospital supply room.
4. Great new excuse for not hanging out with Regis.
3. Anxious to put to use all the practice I've had raising my pet monkey, Kenny.
2. Two words: Swedish nanny.
1. There is now tangible evidence that I have had sex.