It took six minutes for Stephen Colbert to make his first Donald Trump joke. After a polite run of one-liners about CBS, Ashley Madison, and getting pre-empted in favor of "Mentalist" reruns, the comedian finally sank his teeth into a favorite subject.
"Jeb Bush is the former governor of Florida," Colbert began. "You would think spending that much time around crazy people and oranges would have prepared him for Donald Trump.
"Even though I have Jeb Bush on the show," Colbert said, "I will be covering all the presidential candidates who are Donald Trump."
Shortly after those digs, Colbert went to a commercial break. But he had barely gotten through a segment joking about his dependence on advertisers before he fell prey to Trump again, digging into his much-publicized confrontation with Jorge Ramos, and a strange moment during a speech when a woman came out on stage and tugged on Trump's hair before insisting that it was real.
"Everybody likes Donald Trump," Colbert began. "Even white Supremacists, which is incredible, because he's not even white. He's more of an Oompah Loompah-American."
Toward the end of the segment, he pretended to have an attack of conscience. "Look," Colbert gasped. "I don’t need you.
"I don’t need tape of you to have a successful show.
"Someone on television should have a modicum of dignity, and it could be me."
Then, after one perfect beat, he dove back in, figuratively, with the help of some Oreos.
Though the "Late Show" figures to be a big destination for 2016 candidates, and its host has taken pains to stress that he can speak to members of both parties, it seems clear that some topics need special attention.