With only eight more months before he retires his ultra-conservative "Stephen Colbert" character, Stephen Colbert addressed his big Late Show promotion indirectly on Thursday's episode of The Colbert Report.
In response to the thunderous applause and the persistent "Ste-phen!" chants heard from the audience, Colbert took a moment to address "some big news that slipped through my news crack" last week, in reference to David Letterman's decision to retire next year. "I am going to miss this good man. Dave has been on the air my entire adult life," Colbert said. "I learned more from my Dave than I did from going to my classes."
Colbert also acknowledged Letterman's influence on the comedy landscape today, before (not) acknowledging CBS' announcement Thursday that Colbert will take his place in 2015. "I do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair," Colbert said with a straight face. "Those are some huge shoes to fill, and some really big pants." The Emmy-winner then quickly slid into the political news of the day.
However, he wasn't the only one on the cable network to address the big late-night shake-up. Thirty minutes earlier, Colbert's old colleague and longtime friend Jon Stewart also addressed the news at the top of his broadcast. After showing several of Colbert's most memorable moments from Colbert's tenure on The Daily Show, Stewart gave kudos. "The exciting news today is, I no longer need a cable subscription for the privilege of watching Stephen Colbert," he said. Stewart heaped on praise for Letterman and his contribution to the field, but said, "I think Stephen Colbert is up for the challenge." Stewart said he looked forward to the day when he would pass by the Ed Sullivan Theater — Late Show's longtime home — and see The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on the marquee.
"My point is this," Stewart said at the end of the segment, "God speed to both men." Later in the evening, Stewart referenced the news again when Jennifer Garner, who babysat for Colbert years earlier, was a guest on his show. During her interview, Stewart called the gig "one of the most truly distinguished positions in all of television."