Fall TV Preview
Late Show Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert Reveals 'Intimate' Late Show Changes, Announces Kendrick Lamar as First Musical Guest

Introducing himself as a heavyweight boxer before offering reporters fresh underwear (much obliged!), Stephen Colbert on Monday revealed his plans to revamp The Late Show from the ground up — literally.

“Our set is being built right now at the Ed Sullivan Theater,” the incoming host began during the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills. “The theater’s been completely gutted… it’s been taken back to its 1927 beautiful state. We’re building the Late Show set within the context of a Broadway theater. I find it a very intimate setting now, because we acknowledge that we’re in a theater together.”

And there’s no question about who Colbert will get intimate with first — at least musically.

“My last musical guest [on The Colbert Report] was Kendrick Lamar, and I’d love for him to be my first musical guest,” Colbert said. “In fact, he will be my first musical guest.”

Read on for more of Colbert’s teases for his new show:

On his first (non-musical) guest: “I wish I could have done better than George Clooney, but he’ll do for the first guest. I hope someone let him know. It’ll be awkward if he doesn’t show up on Sept. 8. How many celebrities have their own spy satellite? I want to ask him if I can have the keys.”

On the show’s “new” format: “CBS has asked nothing of me other than I fill an hour every night. The format hasn’t changed. I love the grind of a daily show, I love a live audience. They haven’t asked me to change or do anything. They liked the show I used to do and they asked, ‘Do you mind adding another 120 hours a year?'”

On the “real” Stephen Colbert: “If you’re wondering who the real Stephen Colbert is, there’s a supercut of me breaking character the entire time… That guy who can’t stop laughing, that‘s the real Stephen Colbert. I can’t wait for that to be the only guy you see.”

On why he chose Jon Batiste as his bandleader: “It was almost immediate. I had Jon Batiste on the show… and the minute he sat down across from me and challenged me if I could improvise, I thought… I could spent a few years on stage with this guy. Our people talked to each other, it turned out he was interested in the idea. … I can’t wait to play off his energy on stage.”

On his decision to drop his Colbert Report character: “I felt I’d done everything I could do at that show other than have honest interest in my guests, which is almost constant. Now I feel more freed up. That was the most energetic, exciting part of the show, and now I don’t have to hold back anymore.”

On his Daily Show finale appearance: “I felt like a rodeo clown trying to keep [Jon Stewart] on that stage. I honestly thought he was going to leave. When Steve Carell [and all the former correspondents did the group hug] we were all chanting, ‘Made him cry! Made him cry!’ I think that might be my favorite thing I ever did on The Daily Show.”

Your thoughts on Colbert’s version of The Late Show? Hopes? Fears? Drop ’em all in a comment below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Mr. Tran K says:

    Colbert will do a great job as he takes over The Late Show come September 8th. Colbert and Corden are ready to shake up late night TV on CBS. Jon Batiste is a great choice as the band leader and I can’t wait to see the new and improved Late Show set.

    • tyranthraxus says:

      Maybe in a couple of Months bring in Jon Stewart just to keep touch/base

      • Angela says:

        That would be awesome :D.

      • Mr. Tran K says:

        Did you see Colbert’s appearance for Stewart’s farewell to The Daily Show? Hope the Late Show should booked him as a guest in the near future.

        • tyranthraxus says:

          My other hope is that in the future.. maybe some way off around Christmas time if John Oliver takes some time off from his Last Week Tonight that the guest Host for a few weeks is.. Jon Stewart. Id love to see his take on that show.. and the fact he dosnt have Ad breaks!

          Jon Stewart has had some really awesome Monologues over the years, but I dont think one as long as LWT would provide. Its not a huge commitment (as opposed to every night) and It again would be good to see him on the screen again)

  2. Angela says:

    Trying my comment again…
    I like the idea of Stephen changing up the studio he’ll be taping in to make it more “intimate”. I remember that was one thing about Craig Ferguson’s show that appealed to me-the original studio he did his show in had its own intimate feel to it as well (jokes about it being like a “basement” notwithstanding :p). I’m looking forward to seeing what changes he’ll make to Letterman’s set.
    And I’m always amused by people who keep wondering about what to expect from “the real Colbert”. I don’t doubt he will gain some new fans along the way, as well as people who are curious to see Letterman’s replacement, but he’ll also be bringing a lot of “Colbert Report” fans along, too…and those people are well aware of what he’s like out of character, through interviews and moments from his former show. So seeing Stephen being his regular self wouldn’t be that unusual or surprising for them.
    Loved the comment about his appearance on Jon Stewart’s final episode :). I actually thought he was going to break into song for a brief moment when he showed up. But I’m glad he was able to get Jon to stick around and hear what he had to say :D.
    Really looking forward to seeing Stephen on TV again. Can’t wait to see how his new show will go!

  3. S.uddemly says:

    I’m anxious to see the show-really enjoying James Corden’s Late Late Show and think he and Colbert will make a great pair.

    • Mr. Tran K says:

      Hope Colbert & Corden should give Fallon & Meyers a run for their money. I see a late night broadcast war on our midst: CBS vs. NBC.

  4. Tom says:

    With Jon Stewart gone for now at least we’re getting Colbert back. It’s gonna be awesome that he can be himself

  5. Becky says:

    I am so looking forward to this. I read in another article about Colbert’s hope that Trump didn’t quit before he started his show. He said right now he is only dry-Trumping. So funny. Can’t wait.