Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Written by Stephanie Pirman, Staff Writer

The Late Show has been hosted by the comedic legend David Letterman for decades. When he stepped down, the late night crowd collectively held its breath. Who could possibly replace him? The answer, of course, was Stephen Colbert.

Colbert has been building up anticipation for his new show for months, and it is finally here. Colbert’s first act was to sing in a National Anthem montage, which was wrapped up with a cameo by Jon Stewart shouting “Play ball!” The National Anthem was followed up with a few gags about the Mentalist, the renovated Ed Sullivan theatre, a cursed amulet that forces endorsements, and an extended metaphor between Oreos and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The opening of the new show was clever and entertaining. Starting off with a tribute to Letterman, Colbert charmed audiences by saying he will try to honor Letterman’s achievements by angering the network. On the flipside, however, his new humor is odd and quirky at times; for example, Colbert had a cursed amulet force him to endorse Sabra hummus. It is these little eccentricities that may just make Late Show too weird for some. Overall, his style is entertaining and has mass appeal.  

Colbert then brought on first guest George Clooney, Oscar-Award winning actor and philanthropist. The interview included a fake trailer for the fake Decision Strike movie, which Clooney “starred” in.

After Clooney, Colbert brought on Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush was on edge the whole interview, and Colbert just threw out simple questions. It felt forced with Bush, as if Colbert was walking a tightrope consisting of easy questions and faux smiles. This is an unfortunate side effect of his polite persona (or, more aptly, just him being himself). Colbert used to be able to shred his guests as his old persona, but he can no longer do so.

Colbert had begun the show explaining that there was no way of living up to the legend that is Letterman. Letterman was known for his self deprecating humor and being tough on his guests. Colbert is seemingly the exact opposite. He is kind, welcoming, and truly a pleasure to watch. We now see that Late Show with Stephen Colbert is not a sequel to Late Show with David Letterman but a stand-alone series, and a great one at that.

Additionally, Colbert had another tough act to follow– himself. Colbert has promised that his new show will not feature his famous, overzealous conservative persona. He was funny because of how absolutely over-the-top he was. What happens when a comedian changes his tone? His persona? Even his entire act? Can he change his tone, but not his level of hilarity? Stephen Colbert’s new act shows us that he can be hilarious, no matter the character.

Colbert promised an entirely new show, and Colbert delivered. This was not the Colbert we expected, but the Colbert we actually wanted. Colbert brought something different to the table, but one thing is for sure– The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has promise.