Stephen Colbert appeared at the Television Critics Association fall previews to give a sense of what to expect of his Late Show debut. And if his new CBS show is half as funny as his panel, in which Colbert coined the phrase "dry-Trumping," viewers will be in for a treat.
Check out the 8 things we learned about The Late Show with Stephen Colbert below.
1. He's already got great guests lined up. Colbert confirmed that George Clooney would indeed be his first Late Show guest. "I wish I could've done better than George Clooney, but he'll do as the first guest," Colbert said. "I like George Clooney because he's a brilliant actor, a great director and he cares about the world. I mean, how many celebrities have their own spy satellite? I want to ask if I can have the keys." Colbert also revealed that his last Colbert Report musical guest, Kendrick Lamar, would also be his first Late Show musical guest.
2. But The Late Show's guests won't just be celebrities. "Anybody who's interesting and has something to say — that's what I'm interested in," Colbert said. "But I love artists, whether they're actors or musicians. I want to have politicians of all stripes on the show. I like intellectuals, writers, people in sports. But if somebody is not famous and they've got something to say and they can present themselves on camera, I think that'd be the perfect guest to have."
3. There will be shades of his Colbert Report character. "I don't think anyone would've watched that old show if they didn't know who I was, because that guy was a tool," Colbert said. "I was able to piggyback on the back of that character and be extremely intimate with the audience because I had the excuse that I didn't mean it. But I'm here to tell you, I meant a lot of it. I even agreed with my character sometimes. But we tried to establish a really intimate relationship with the audience and my hope is when you see me on the new show you'll go, 'Oh, wow. A lot of that was him the whole time.' But I won't know how much of it is until I go do it, honest to God. It's an act of discovery for me too. All I know is that it's the same creative team, so I'm just as excited about the jokes."
4. We'll see Colbert engage much more during interviews. "My character was actively ignorant. I think one of the reasons I most wanted to drop the character is that I had done everything I could do with him or everything I could do with that show other than have my honest interest in my guest, which is almost constant," Colbert said. "So now I feel like I feel more freed-up."
5. Don't expect him to contribute to any late-night rivalry. "I do know that the idea of war between hosts makes no sense to me," Colbert explained. "It's not like my success takes away from anyone else. And fighting amongst each other doesn't sound funny. There's no joke there, so I'm not interested."
6. It will be very similar in structure to The Colbert Report. "CBS has asked nothing of me other than I fill an hour every week Monday through Friday," Colbert said. "They haven't asked me to change or do anything. They liked the show I used to do. They said, 'Would you mind adding another 120 hours a year?' Honest to God."
6. He can't wait to tackle Donald Trump. "One of the reasons I'm really happy we're starting on Sept. 8 is because the day after Labor Day, back before things became insane, was traditionally the start of the presidential campaign. That's why I wanted that day," Colbert said. "And now I'm just hoping that certain people stay in the race until Sept. 8. I'm not going to name any names, but let's just say I want to do jokes on Donald Trump so badly and I have no venue. So right now I'm just dry-Trumping."
8. Colbert will incorporate sketches and other types of content into The Late Show. "I'm an improvisational actor," Colbert said. "I mean, I love the interviews. I love desk pieces. But we did all that stuff on the old show and we'll continue to do it. It's just a matter of finding the time to do it, finding the right joke. But really, there's nothing that you know how to do that you shouldn't do on a show like this, because the beast is too hungry. Johnny Carson said to Jay Leno said to Conan O'Brien said to me, 'You will use everything you know how to do because the beast must be fed.'"
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert premieres Tuesday, Sept. 8 on CBS at 11:30/10:30c.
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