After nine years on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert debuted as host of The Late Showand proved that he is more than capable of making the switch to CBS without changing too much. He may not have made a sweeping commitment to "truthiness" as he did make it clear he'll be keeping things fun, smart and a little bit weird.
Check out 6 times Colbert's debut as Late Show host proved he was worthy of the gig:
1. He didn't try to reinvent late night. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert opened with a standard but funny monologue and debuted a flashy new set that sticks true to the comforting late-night format we know, yet also feels very reminiscent of the Report. You've got your standard desk, guest chairs and band, decorated with some star-spangled mementos from The Colbert Report, including Captain America's shield.
2. He honors his comedy roots.
After kicking off the hour by singing the National Anthem with people around the country, Colbert was officially thrust into his new gig with a hearty "play ball" from Jon Stewart, whose Daily Show on Comedy Central set Colbert on the path to greatness.
Later, Colbert made a point to pay tribute to his predecessor David Letterman. "The comedy landscape is so thickly planted with the forest of Dave's ideas that sometimes we have to remind ourselves [of his impact]," Colbert said. "We will try to honor his achievement by doing the best show we can, and occasionally making the network very mad at us."
3. His silly side is still going strong. Although Colbert had to drop his uber-conservative doofus persona from Colbert Report, fortunately he didn't completely turn his back on outrageous comedic bits. Among the gags were CBS chief Les Moonves controlling a lever that switched the "live" feed from Late Show to popular CBS drama Mentalist just in case Colbert faltered. Later, the host found a way to creatively plug Sabra hummus because of course you must listen when a demonic cursed skull on set demands you shill for the sponsor. But most importantly, Colbert continued his tradition of coining odd words. You can now add "Ooma-Loompa-Merican" to your Donald Trump descriptors.
4. He's can get his guests to act silly also. As the honored first guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, George Clooney had a particularly interesting role, especially considering that he had no movie or project to promote. To fill the gap, he promoted a fake movie, "Decision Strike" in which he plays the "no-nonsense secretary general of the UN." The two played a very entertaining series of clips of Clooney saving the world and romancing a woman in the faux thriller.
5. His band totally rocks. House bandleader Jon Batiste proved that the show's musical interludes will be as colorful as the pants he was wearing. For the show's big closing number, Batiste and Stay Human performed a foot-stomping rendition of "Everyday People" accompanied by several special guests including Mavis Staples, Aloe Blacc, Ben Folds... and Colbert himself!
6. He's ready to tackle the election. "Just like the rest of the media I will be covering all of the presidential candidates...who are Donald Trump," Colbert said, introducing a bit that equated the addictive quality of Oreos to that of covering Trump campaign news. "One is enough, that is the only Trump story I'll be treating myself to tonight," he said as he moved to put away a package of cookies. "Well, maybe just one more."
Since Colbert has made a career of mocking conservatives, he also very wisely decided to include Republican candidate Jeb Bush as one of his first guests. Although the majority of the interview was very softball, Colbert did try to get Bush to discuss policy by asking how he differs politically from his brother, former President George W. Bush. "I'm obviously, younger, much better looking," said Bush before explaining that he disagrees with the way his brother managed government spending during his time in office. The interview, albeit very edited, showed that Colbert isn't afraid to tackle some politics. On the flip side, Bush most likely earned some good will for going along with jokes, such as when Colbert poked at his "JEB!" campaign posters.
Check out a bonus clip of JEB! from the show:
What did you think of Stephen Colbert's first night on The Late Show?
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