There are mere hours left before one of the most potentially historic nights in late night television. Stephen Colbert will officially debut as the new permanent host of CBS’ “Late Show” Tuesday to take over the now vacant desk.
The 51-year-old comedian will attempt to fill the massive shoes left behind by the iconic David Letterman, who retired as the show’s principal host after 22 years with the network in May. Colbert will kick things off Tuesday, Sept. 8, from the Ed Sullivan theater in New York City. The show will air, as it always had with Letterman at the helm, at 11:35 p.m. EDT on CBS.
Helping the former political comedian get things started on a completely different late-night platform than he’s used to will be his first crop of celebrity guests. Joining him during his first broadcast will be actor George Clooney, presidential candidate Jeb Bush and musician Jon Batiste. These three men will have the privilege of being the first guests to grace the new, hopefully long-running, talk show stage. Meanwhile, the first week of guests for “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” has previously been revealed.
While the changing of hands between one host to the next is always exciting, Colbert’s debut on “The Late Show” has an added air of mystery to it as, for many people, it will be their first glimpse at what the comedian’s real-life personality is like. For the better part of nine years, the funnyman hosted “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central where he captured the hearts of his nation with the ultra-conservative persona he put on to make the show’s gimmick work. Colbert stayed in character, unflinchingly, for the entire run of “The Colbert Report.” However, he says he will shed the persona the moment he steps out on “The Late Show” stage.
"I mean, I worked really hard to be that other guy for 10 years, I hope they'll find out pretty quickly that the guy they saw for 10 years was my sense of humor the whole time,” Colbert told CBS News recently. “ It is, I guess, flattering that people thought I was an actual pundit or a newsman, eventually over the years, but it's really nice to not have to pretend it anymore!"
What are your thoughts about Colbert ditching his persona and taking over late night for CBS? Comment below or tweet your thoughts on his performance to @TylerMcCathy.