Late Night with Colbert is just as funny as we hoped


“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” premiered on Sept. 8, 2015, and so far, it has not disappointed.  With high caliber guests of the likes of Republican candidate Jeb Bush, massively popular comedian Amy Schumer, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Colbert has risen to the task of replacing the legendary David Letterman.

Call it his previous experience with talk shows on “The Colbert Report”, or just his sparkling charisma, but the first few weeks of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” have been a series of goods, betters, and bests, with bad moments few and far between.

The Good:  Colbert is hitting all ranges.  His jokes are coming in multiple forms, his humor is coming across multiple mediums, and he is making fun of everyone, regardless of stance on any issue.

Unlike Jimmy Fallon, who critics say is too reliant on laughs from ridiculous stunts that he pulls with his guests, Colbert has covered the bases in terms of joke styles in his first few weeks.  He has mastered the use of self-deprecating irony, asking legendary Jon Stewart’s replacement, Trevor Noah: “[You’re] Stepping into the seat of a legend of talk shows… That’s crazy, who would want to do that??” smirking clearly not in reference to his taking over for another legend himself.

He has employed vicious sarcasm.  The day after the three-hour Republican Presidential Debate, he opened the show, commenting “[the debate] started last night about 8 p.m., and it ended… did it end yet?” Then, after Donad Trump stated in the post-debate interview that he didn’t know he could stand for that long, Colbert noted his surprise, stating, “I could barely sit through it.”

And he has hit a balance. While he has spent many on-air minutes ridiculing the Republican field, his best jokes have been aimed left of the aisle, namely at Democratic frontrunner, Hilary Clinton. “Hillary Clinton’s got the name recognition, she’s got the cash, and seven enchanted horcruxes,” he said on her current position as believed nomination-to-be.  But Senator Bernie Sanders has been charging up the polls, leaving Colbert to notice how he resembles “the guy in front of you at the deli trying to return salami.”

The Better: Colbert has gotten serious.  While many entered his first weeks as host wondering if he would ever be able to fully shake the non-serious charicature that he spent years honing on the “Colbert Report”, Stephen has proved from the beginning that he is up to the task.

On Thursday Sept. 10, Vice President Joe Biden appeared for an interview on Colbert’s show, less than a month after his son, Beau, had passed away.  In a roughly 20 minute interview, Colbert respectively and lightly walked Biden through his past few weeks, employing just enough humor to keep things from tearing over, but asking personal questions with a deepness and frankness that surprised many.

  At one point, after Biden openly admitted that he felt like he had let his son and family down, Colbert asked one of the most influential humans in the world how exactly he thought he was a failure.  But the reverence with which he conducted the entire interview elicited heartfelt and honest responses from Biden on how he had learned so many lessons from his son, how his Catholic faith has affected the grieving process, and how the past month had changed his thoughts on running for office.

  Yet, perfectly keeping things just light enough, Colbert expertly inserted humor into the entire process, keeping things fun and conversational.  “I want to give the office [of Vice President] the respect it deserves,” he asked immediately following a commercial break, “how much respect is that?”

  The Best:  By far, the best joke of the show so far has been, when mocking Clinton’s attempts to appear authentic and funny, he impersonated her giving a joke, quipping, “What’s the difference between Donald Trump’s hair and Bernie Sanders’ hair? I’ve been advised to make the punch line about Donald Trump’s hair so as to not alienate left leaning Democrats.”

  And then, he got real. “By the way, the difference between Bernie’s hair and Donald Trump’s hair is that with Bernie’s hair, the carpet matches the drapes.  And for legal reasons I’m going to say that I don’t understand that joke.”

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