Stephen Colbert Late Show

Stephen Colbert's Late Show Premiere: Clooney's Fake Movie, Jon Stewart's Cameo(s) and 8 Other Key Moments

“Hello, Nation!”

Stephen Colbert is so happy to be back on television, and so happy to be on CBS, that he almost feels like a third Broke Girl!

And despite what you might’ve heard, the new Late Show features the same Colbert that flew off into the moonlight with Santa Claus and Alex Trebek when he wrapped the iconic Colbert Report in 2014.

He’s no longer playing the role of narcissistic conservative pundit, but he’s still as gleefully narcissistic and quick-witted as ever.

Following a cold open Tuesday, which found the host singing along to “The Star Spangled Banner” with a variety of strangers across the United States before being told by little league umpire Jon Stewart to “play ball,” Colbert practically skipped to his place on stage, eager to put on the best first show possible.

Stephen Colbert Late ShowAfter being warned by CBS prez Leslie Moonves about the potential of being replaced by the same Mentalist reruns that kept his 11:35 pm time slot warm all summer long, the show truly began, first with a lively animated opening title sequence with Colbert as his own announcer, then by bringing the funnyman to his new desk — a desk, he notes, was carved out of a single piece of desk.

Before he got down to business shilling hummus and taking down Donald Trump’s recent comments about Oreo-manufacturer Nabisco, he took a moment to thank the man who kept The Late Show going day-after-day for 22 years. And after thanking Biff Henderson, he also thanked David Letterman:

“It’s possible to lose sight at how much Dave changed comedy,” he said. “The comedy landscape is so thickly planted with the forest of Dave’s ideas, that we sometimes need to remind ourselves just how tall he stands. So just for the record, I’m not replacing David Letterman. His creative legacy is a high pencil mark on a doorframe that we all have to measure ourselves against, but we will try to honor his achievement by doing the best show we can, and occasionally, making the network very mad at us.”

What followed in subsequent segments mirrored what we’ve all come to expect from standard late-show fare, including interviews (and taped gags) with George Clooney and POTUS hopeful Jeb Bush, and a rousing performance of Sly and the Family Stone’s 1968 classic “Everyday People” by infectious house band Jon Batiste and Stay Human, alongside some very special guests.

And check out this extended bonus clip of Colbert and Bush, a gem of a segment that didn’t make it to air:

Browse our gallery for a selection of best moments, then head to the comments and let us know what you think of the (allegedly) new Stephen Colbert. (We expect your whole truthiness, and nothing but the truthiness!) Then grade the premiere in our poll, and decide whether the new Late Show deserves a tip of the hat, or wag of the finger.

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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22 Comments
  1. Tom says:

    I’m going to miss David Letterman a lot, but it seems like Colbert’s going to be a worthy successor.

  2. Lysh says:

    I could have done without the Trump/Oreos bit for more interview with Clooney or Bush. Maybe hearing about how it was originally two hours made me realize how edited it was. But I loved the opening and all his little bits with his amazing harmonized singing, the demon/hummus part, and seeing Jimmy Fallon give his support. It was a good show! Colbert was a great choice for the Late Show.

  3. Solid first outing, though I get the feeling a lot was left out. Colbert, if nothing else, seems to be bursting with ideas and enthusiasm which he can’t wait to throw at us.

  4. Dhdh says:

    Needs more stand up and jokes and. Orr funny… Less talking and story telling. Also dial down on the product placement that was ridiculous it literally went from sabas hummus to Oreo cookies. I would like to see more Colbert wit too. It was a little awkward with clooney. I didn’t make it to bush he is so boring i didn’t want to sit through him (bush not Colbert).

  5. m3rcnate says:

    Absolutely loved the opening title sequence, what a gorgeous and unique view of NYC. Really amazing.

  6. Nivek says:

    He tried to be too much. You don’t need to do Lettermen-esque stage gags. When he wasn’t over the top and trying to hard, he was funny. There was no question whether to watch Dave or not. I’ll stick to Fallon and check back in a few weeks to see if he’s settled in.

  7. DavidJ says:

    Very lively and energetic premiere, and I thought Stephen was hilarious as usual.

    He and the show did feel a bit TOO amped up at times, but it was obviously the first episode and I’m sure things will calm down and relax as it goes on.

  8. Ann Waters says:

    Colbert was great. Funny, witty and I think he was enjoying himself and his enthusiasm was contagious. Can’t wait for the next show. The hour went by so fast that we couldn’t believe it was ending. My husband and I always watch tv in different rooms but that will change when it comes to the Colbert show. That’s one show we both enjoyed. Great job, Mr. Colbert!

  9. maggie says:

    Stephen Colbert had a great premiere. I will be watching this show from now on.

  10. TheDus2009 says:

    still needs a few tweaks but overall a solid debut

  11. Sharon nieminski says:

    I will definitely be watching jimmy Kimmel, as I have been. Colbert is a failure & not funny. The Late Late Show is also another CBS Failure. My friends & relatives feel the same way, I didn’t influence the parties in any way.

  12. antisocialbutterflie says:

    I noticed in the credits that they list Jon Stewart as an executive producer. Is that “Jon Stewart” Jon Stewart or someone else?

    • Andrea says:

      I think it was THE Jon Stewart. I wondered if the show gave him that credit as a thank you for his baseball umpire cameo, or if he will permanently be a producer for the show? I liked Stephen’s show, except for the Sabra hummas bit.

  13. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give the premiere of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert an A+. He’s the prefect replacement for Letterman (TRUST ME) and I think Colbert will be way better than Dave but only time will tell. Really enjoy the new Late Show set that they remodel at the Ed Sullivan Theater the same place Letterman was and I also enjoy Jon Batiste as the band leader along with Stay Human. The opening was fantastic (cameo by Jon Stewart) as does the ending and there’s no doubt that CBS is ready to shake up late night TV in a big way with Colbert and Corden but as for Fallon and Meyers, they better watch out for competition. COLBERT NATION has already begun and thank goodness that CBS’ repeats of hour long dramas are finally over.

  14. Vs says:

    I’ll check Kimmel, Colbert, Fallon, and see who has the best guests ( and if it’s a repeat or not ). But Kimmel is my favorite host.

  15. Becky says:

    I thought it was terrific. I watched the extended clip of the Bush interview above and really wished some of that had made it to the show. Perhaps that’s the stuff I’ll be watching on line the next day. He’s going to get better and better at this, I can tell. Loved the band and the closing number, too.

  16. David Wilson says:

    Clooney ought to have his own Muppet! 😎