On the night that CBS announced a replacement for Late Show with David Letterman in the coming year, there was no new Late Show to comment on the news. Letterman already had taken the night off Thursday, having been pre-empted 15 minutes anyhow by annual late-night highlights of the Masters golf tournament.
So instead, ’twas left to the generation of late-night hosts inspired by him who have followed in his wake to toast him and his successor, Stephen Colbert.
Craig Ferguson opened his Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS with congratulations for Colbert, calling him “a fine addition to the CBS cavalcade of stars.”
Seth Meyers, on NBC, echoed the sentiments of many who said Colbert not only was the nicest guy in the game but also the number-one choice to receive this promotion. Meyers also joked that he’s happy to no longer be “the new guy” in the late-night shuffle.
Arsenio Hall joked that his sarcastic Tweet about Letterman asking him personally to take the job may have confused people. Jimmy Fallon joked he’d be the new host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. “There’s not going to be any war. It’ll be a dance-off!”
Jon Stewart, meanwhile, who just a night earlier had foretold of the great things coming Colbert’s way to a reporter for New York magazine’s Vulture, beamed with pride and giggles aplenty as he showed old clips of Colbert’s tenure on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
And what about Colbert? He had nothing to say on The Colbert Report, leaving it to his faux conservative blowhard persona “Stephen Colbert” to wax nostaglic about watching Letterman since his first nights on Late Night on NBC — when Colbert, or was it “Colbert,” was a college freshman. “Colbert” cracked that he wouldn’t want to have to be the guy to fill Letterman’s shoes.
“This man has influenced every host who came after him, and even a few who came before him — he’s that good. And I gotta tell you, I do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair!”
My friend in comedy journalism across the border in Canada, Sharilyn Johnson, an avowed Colbert fanatic, astutely assessed “Colbert’s” gameplan earlier Thursday. Because he’ll have to transition not just his persona — but also an audience of millions who have loved his satirical send-up of conservative know-nothings for a decade — into the real thing once Stephen Colbert in fact fills Letterman’s Late Show shoes.
Roll the clips!
Jon Stewart also spent most of guest Jennifer Garner’s time asking her about her experiences working with Colbert and babysitting his kids. True story!