What made this more remarkable was that Colbert's guest was none other than Donald Trump, the current favorite punching bag of late night hosts. But rather than being tough on the current Republican presidential candidate, Colbert instead lobbed softball after softball at Trump.
"I want to apologize to you, because I've said a few things about you, over the years, that in polite company perhaps are unforgivable," Colbert told Trump at one point. He then asked Trump if there was anyone he might like to apologize to. "Maybe the audience," Trump responded.
Other topics that Colbert touched on during the interview included Trump's proposed plan to build a wall across the Mexico-U.S. border, and Trump's insistence a few years ago that President Obama make his long-form birth certificate public. ("I don't talk about that anymore," Trump said, and Colbert let the issue drop.)
Colbert also challenged Trump to a game of "Who Said It?," between Trump and Colbert's Late Show with Stephen Colbert alter-ego. (One trick question was a quote from Charles Manson.) Colbert's demeanor may have been due in part to the fact that NBC's Tonight Show trounced The Late Show in ratings last week, when Trump appeared as a guest. But the borderline deferential interview was a surprise, to say the least.
Watch clips from the show here: