Goodbye Letterman, Hello Colbert
You might remember him as the crazy guy whose show was after Jon Stewart’s on Comedy Central. However, he is now the face of late night television (on CBS at least). “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” finally debuted on the 8th after a long summer off.
After more than 4,000 episodes over a 22-year span, David Letterman said a tearful goodbye to the Late Show this May and retired as an irreplaceable member of late night television. However, as a new generation grows up and moves to college (*cough cough*), a new candidate has to arise to entertain the masses. Many of my peers and I were thrilled to hear the news that Stephen Colbert would fulfill CBS’s void. With tears in our eyes, we watched Colbert retire from Comedy Central in December and waited patiently for his “new and improved” talk show. For me, it did not disappoint. I wouldn’t want to spoil any good jokes and I would recommend you watch it yourself, but I suppose that talk shows have a highly subjective appeal.
Variety shows are different than regular television shows. Their existence relies solely on the likability of their host. If someone you don’t like is on TV every night, you probably won’t watch him. Imagine if someone like Ray Liotta was given the reigns to a nightly show (scary isn’t it?). What also makes a variety show refreshing is new and interesting celebrity guests. In just one week, Colbert has managed to interview GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, author Stephen King, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and hosted a bone-chilling live performance from rap star Kendrick Lamar. Colbert has been bringing on several relevant figures in today’s culture while keeping the interviews informative yet educational.
Contrary to “The Colbert Report” where Colbert’s ego represented a fierce and ironic conservative, the talk show host dropped the act to be a bit more like his natural self. But nonetheless, his narcissism and quirky humor has lingered enough to keep Stephen Colbert, well… Stephen Colbert. Point and case: Colbert excitedly walked on stage to greet his first show audience with a thank you and assured them: “You are all witnessing television history and like most history, it’s not on the History Channel.”
For those of you who missed the Leno-Letterman rivalry, there is good news! According to Deadline, there still seems to be plenty of late show rivalry with a duo of competitors for Colbert in Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. The tension may not be too harsh since Fallon made a short cameo for a gag in Colbert’s first episode. However, there will be foreseeable competition for viewers in the late night television market. These younger hosts seem to bring our demographic to late night television more and more.
In conclusion, I think that Stephen Colbert will continue his tradition of being a very entertaining host. A medium such as CBS will give him an opportunity to shift his focus off of political agendas and maybe even become a more relevant figure in today’s culture. If you were curious enough to read this article yet aren’t committed enough to spend an hour watching his show, I highly advise you find the time to do so. At least then if you claim he’ll never be as great as Letterman you would have some knowledge and support to back it up. Who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love with late night television all over again.