News / TV

Return of “Stephen Colbert” kicks off seismic shift in late-night TV coverage for 2016 Republican National Convention

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

The Emmy Awards announced nominees last week for the first time in some 16 years not naming Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. On Monday night, both returned to late-night TV in glorious measure. Stephen Colbert teased Stewart’s appearance on The Late Show, but it was all a set-up, for Stewart (Colbert’s executive producer) to reintroduce “Stephen Colbert,” late of The Colbert Report, for his triumphant comeback/debut on CBS. Thanks Trump.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert began the first of two weeks of live broadcasts Monday night with a taped musical number, sure, but the fireworks really began with Colbert’s sketch into the woods to the remote cabin where Stewart and “Colbert” presumably have been enjoying their TV retirement.

“Colbert” strode onstage with a sword and a Captain America shield to audience chants.

“Yes! Hello Nation. Did you miss me? I know I did. Well, it’s time to say Aloha to Stephen Colbert, and Aloha to ‘Stephen Colbert.'” He then asked for and received the old Comedy Central theme music, and launched into a brand-new edition of The Word, his classic segment that once upon a time began by introducing us to “Truthiness.” So, fittingly, this time around, he brought us “Trumpiness.” Because the truth means nothing to Trump, and even less perhaps to Trump supporters.

Roll the clip, Jimmy.

Colbert also unveiled a clip from his misadventures Sunday within the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland where he actually got onto the Republican National Convention stage and managed to hijack the mics for his “Hungry for Power Games” segment — before security pushed him off.

At the end of it all, Colbert teased that there were would be more appearances by Stewart on The Late Show this week (and next).

But that’s not all.

The predicted unpredictability of this week’s RNC — and in particular, the expected lunacy of Donald Trump’s nomination acceptance speech on Thursday night — has tempted several late-night TV comedy organizations into going live just to make sure they’re among the first to offer their hot takes on the matter.

To wit:

  • Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah will broadcast live from Cleveland at 11 p.m. EDT on Thursday following Trump’s speech. They’ll also go live next Thursday after Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.
  • HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher will go live from Los Angeles at 11 p.m. EDT Wednesday and Thursday for half-hour panels (he’ll do the same next week during the DNC). Maher’s panelists Wednesday are documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, political correspondent Joy Reid and advice columnist Dan Savage; and Thursday,¬†economic equality advocate Heather McGhee, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and economist Robert Reich.
  • NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers will broadcast live this Thursday and next at 12:35 a.m. EDT.¬†Joining Meyers on July 21: guests Leslie Jones and chef Carlo Mirarchi. On July 28, Meyers will be joined by Colin Jost and Michael Che from Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update.
  • Speaking of Jost and Che, they’ll appear on NBC’s Today this Wednesday and next, and at midnight, broadcast special editions of Weekend Update on MSNBC.
  • And last but not least, Emmy-nominated Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS traveled to Cleveland — with some of its reports airing last night, and much more airing this Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. EDT in its first special episode, A Very Special Full Frontal Special.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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