Thursday, September 10, 2015

Finally and At Long Last....Stephen Colbert!

As I was leaving work Tuesday evening, I became aware of the sounds of a party. A very large party being held in the park down the block and across the street from my building. There was a band playing and people were either dancing or just hanging around on the grass by the fountains just chillin'. There were vendors with hot dogs and ice cream. It looked like a really good time was being had by all. 

And what, pray tell, was the purpose of this party? It was being thrown by our local CBS affiliate to celebrate the arrival of Stephen Colbert as host of The Late Show

Really.  

A party in a park covering a city block for a former cast member of The Dana Carvey Show, a former correspondent for The Daily Show and former host of The Colbert Report, to get everybody all excited that A NEW ERA IN LATE NIGHT TELEVISION was about to begin! 

Colbert stepped down as host of The Colbert Report in December 2014. His start date as host of CBS's The Late Show was not scheduled until September 2015. That's a rather long stretch for a TV host not being on TV and/or hosting anything. In that long twilight of a Colbert-less world, we may have feared that Stephen would be forgotten. 

If that was a risk, it was certainly eliminated by a barrage of press for TV, radio and print in the last week as the expectations for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert built to a fever pitch. With that kind of build up, how could the show and its new found host be expected to not crumble under the pressure of those expectations?

Thankfully that didn't happen. No, the show did not live up to the hype but it didn't fall into the abyss either. As a first show, it was a better than solid effort.


The opening with Stephen Colbert singing the National Anthem in baseball parks across the country culminating with a surprise cameo by umpire Jon Stewart giving the order to "play ball!" to kick off the show. Nice touch!


Stephen's touching tribute to David Letterman was a sweet and classy thing to do. Man, Colbert is so damn good at these testimonials (as witnessed by his kind words to Jon Stewart on Jon's last Daily Show.)


As Bill Murray was to David Letterman, George Clooney will not be to Stephen Colbert. Oh, Clooney was his usual charming "I will screw all your women and you will like it" self and Stephen did OK with that. But Colbert really shined with his second guest, Republican presidential candidate Jeb (JEB!) Bush. Piercing the outer shell of politicos is right in Stephen's wheelhouse and I hope we get to see more of that in future editions of the The Late Show.  


Many wondered how Stephen Colbert would transition from the character that shared his name and hosted The Colbert Report to a different forum where he would have to play a new and different character, himself. Over the summer, we got to see a lot of inventive and funny pieces featuring Colbert that were posted online. Think of it as his comedy workshop. It produced some really funny stuff. (Do yourself a favor and take a look at the 5 part "Lunch With Stephen" series.)  These comedy featurettes pointed to the comedy direction that Colbert launched on Tuesday night. 

It was just one night but it bodes well that A NEW ERA IN LATE NIGHT TELEVISION has indeed begun. 

Everyone be good to one another. I'll be back with another post tomorrow. 

Dave-El

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