Late Show Stephen Colbert

The Late Show: Was Colbert Off His Game in Live Super Bowl Episode?

The only person more nervous than Cam Newton and Peyton Manning on Super Bowl Sunday? Stephen Colbert.

Not only did the Late Show rookie land the coveted post-game time slot on CBS — marking the first time a late-night program has aired after the NFL championship —  but he was tasked with pulling off a live broadcast just moments after the Denver Broncos won the Lombardi Trophy.

Like any real-time television event, Colbert’s post-Super Bowl outing suffered a few technical mishaps, particularly when the affable host kept asking his producers, “Are we going to commercial or are we going to satellite?” at the start of the show (which resulted in a few uncomfortable shots of the control room).

But Sunday’s episode suffered more from segments that simply fell flat, for reasons ranging from, “Didn’t they rehearse this interview beforehand?” (see: Colbert’s meandering chat with Tina Fey and Margot Robbie) to, “What is the point of this?” (see: Will Ferrell forgoing all Zoolander 2-related conversation in favor of bringing live animals onstage with him).

That’s not to say the broadcast was without its highlights. Colbert’s Super Bowl-themed monologue featured amusing cameos by President Barack Obama and FLOTUS Michelle Obama (who were even willing to crack jokes about Nicolas Cage’s National Treasure, as one does). And his interview with Megyn Kelly was both funny (Trump jokes!) and enlightening (redefining feminism!)

All told, though, Colbert had an opportunity on Sunday to show off his best work for viewers who are still unfamiliar with “the real him” — and we’re not sure he used the hour to his full advantage.

But that’s just our opinion. What did you think of Colbert’s live Late ShowGrade the broadcast in our poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

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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33 Comments
  1. Lily says:

    I’ve been disappointed with his entire show and the personality change from The Colbert Report. He was more valuable to the cultural dialogue as his old character. And funnier.

    • S. says:

      He was going to quit the Colbert Report anyway. He said so. It’s either this or no Colbert hosting anything. He was tapped out. No contribution to the cultural dialogue as you would’ve wanted. You’re disappointed in his personality change? To his actual personality? Ouch. I think he’s a nice guy and naturally quick and funny. He did have writers before that came with him so it’s not like you’re not getting everything you got in terms of joke writing ability. I like that he has a segment in the middle of the guests sometimes. Keeps the energy up and gives a shot of Daily Show-esque segments which makes sense cuz Stewart’s an EP. I miss the old show, but I enjoy what I’m getting. I miss Craig Ferguson too, but Corden’s really good on his show. The Nightly Show’s been doing some really nice work in Colbert’s old slot. The writing on the Late Show’s good even if the guests aren’t all winners. Sometimes you gotta deal with people who are there to promote something, but they make even the host glaze over a bit.

  2. Mr. Tran K says:

    It was a bad move for CBS’ part to land The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in the post Super Bowl spot if only shows like Scorpion, Hawaii Five-O and a few others would have been great candidates for that.

  3. Walter Freeman says:

    I thought the Obama stuff was overwrought. I tuned out halfway through.

    • S. says:

      Overwrought? Wow you’re being ridiculous and pretty obviously indicating your political leaning. There’s no way it’s objectively overwrought for the President to joke around about a football for a couple minutes, and it’s sad you can’t appreciate something that is more entertaining to people who don’t poison it for themselves. Some people so much as see Obama in anything and suddenly it’s just ruined forever and “in your face.” How dare he appear in front of Cosmos’ first episode for example, right? I mean it promotes science in this country (besides being exquisitely crafted television) and you think that’d be a good thing, but people griped. Then they complain that there’s not enough science education–I’m not sure how they can expect to make it popular if they put down the people who use their leadership positions to celebrate it. They complain about obesity and then he and the First Lady can’t do anything about sports without getting yelled at. He did a fun bit on a late night show and incorporated Michelle’s program to get kids to move *after a major sporting event where it makes sense to mention athletics.* Just admit your agenda. This was fine. He used his position in a world far more involved with social media to be in the public eye in a light-hearted and educational way, and I don’t see that as a bad thing.

      • Walter Freeman says:

        Holy overreaction, Batman! Nice try, but no. The prerecorded skits with the Obamas simply weren’t funny. They were as wooden as Nixon was in Laugh-In. Now, surely, there is someone on the internet who’s wrong about something else, so please, hurry off, and go make sure they know how you feel. Thanks.

  4. peterwdawson says:

    You’re making it sound worse than it was, there was plenty of solid material, but yeah, more than a couple of glitches too. Some wires clearly got crossed somewhere. Reminded me of Fallon’s post Superbowl show a year or two ago.

  5. S.uddemly says:

    I’m a real Colbert fan but wow he blew this opportunity. Watching James Corden now in the east and he should have had the post show slot-show is FUN.

    • JB_Smooove says:

      corden is way much more funnier

      • MC says:

        I think CBS knows this, but can’t do anything about it for the time being. It’s embarrassing for CBS when the late, late show with Corden is consistently more entertaining than the more hyped Colbert show. I watch Fallon and then switch over to Corden.

        • Polly says:

          now you know how i felt during the Ferguson years on the LLS, when he was constantly and consistently more entertaining than Dave :D

  6. Lysh says:

    I only watched the Megyn Kelly interview and I’m not sure about her definition of feminism, but I enjoyed the interview.
    It’s high time for another National Treasure movie. America deserves it.

  7. JK says:

    Late Late Show was more fun to watch. Disappointed he didn’t actually interview Zac, Adam & Anna (with Aubrey, too. She said she couldn’t do the bit because of her knee recovery)

  8. DavidJ says:

    I’m a huge Colbert fan, but man do I really miss the edge and fearlessness of his old show. His Late Show has its moments, but it still feels way too safe and watered down in comparison.

  9. Eric says:

    James Corden did a MUCH better job with The Late Late Show tonight. He should have followed the game. If things keep up at this pace, he may well end up taking Colbert’s job.

  10. Steven says:

    I agree with others commenting that James Corden was much funnier. Stephen Colbert had such a huge opportunity with a live show after the Super Bowl, but it was really boring.

  11. gcw07 says:

    I’ll be curious to see what the ratings are for it tomorrow. I know it will be high just because of the post game bump, but will be interesting to compare it to previous shows. In the past I’ve watched whatever was on after the game, but an episode of Colbert just wasn’t interesting enough to tune in. I turned the channel as soon as the post game stuff was over.

  12. Colbert Zombie says:

    My pvr cut off the last half hour of Colbert! I am pissed off, some stupid football game ran long!

  13. Josh says:

    No offense to Colbert but I wanted CBS to air Scorpion or Supergirl after the Super Bowl

  14. Louise says:

    I personally thought it was great. There was some problems with the satellite link, yeah, but you can’t really blame them for that. Besides, I always appreciate seeing Paul Dinello! I thought the beginning bit with throwing the football worked really well, and I loved the meta way they dealt with the pretaped Obama bit. I would have loved a bit longer desk segment, because those are generally my favourite bits, but I really enjoyed the jokes we did get – especially the wall one.

    I thought the Will Ferrell and Key and Peele bits worked very well. Especially the K&P one just kept getting better and better – although it would have been lovely to actually have Key and Peele in the studio. Oh, and that version of Hotline Bling that Jon and the band played when Ferrell walked in was amazing.

    I though the Margot Robbie and Tina Fey interview was quite charming, although I get if people think that it didn’t fit in on such a huge night. Interviewing them separately on different nights might have been nice so Tina and Stephen could have gotten into a more personal discussion about e.g. second city. Maybe another time! The Megyn Kelly interview was also really interesting, although I really disagree with her view on feminism.

    It seems like they wanted to keep the show as close to a regular episode as possible, albeit with more focus on the guests than normally, so people could get a feel for the show, and I think they succeeded fairly well with that – although the guest list is generally a lot more interesting than it was tonight, imo.

  15. Ru says:

    I love Colbert and I think he is doing a really good job but this time he did okay. Still I think people should give him a second chance by watching his show in it’s normal time slot.

  16. dlraetz says:

    I watched the open and about 2 minutes with Tina Fey. It wasn’t funny enough to make it worth staying up

  17. Abe Froman says:

    I think it’s time for everyone to admit that the real Stephen Colbert just isn’t that good.

  18. Matt Terzi says:

    The stuff with Will Farrell and the animals was absolutely hilarious; I laughed the whole time. And they didn’t show the control room… it was some stagehand-types off to Colbert’s right, beside the stage area. The episode was all-around decent and this kind of nitpicking is precisely why so many people ignore what critics have to say about television and film.

  19. WildSubnet says:

    I think if you like the new Late Show really depends on what kind of late night show you’re looking for. If you want SNL with some interviews, the Tonight Show is there for you. You don’t mind falling asleep during the interviews because they’re just filler. If you want Charlie Rose with some comedy bits tossed in, The Late Show is your thing. Colbert is probably the best late night interviewer we’ve had in a long time and has promoted people who normally wouldn’t even be on these talk shows and made them interesting. I can’t stay up that late to watch it live, but when I watch the recording the next day I rarely skip through an interview. He rarely gives the headliner (almost always a celebrity) two segments so he can do a full interview with the second guest.

    That said, I think this was his best “comedy” show yet. But the Megyn Kelly interview was great too.

    • MC says:

      I’m a very political person, but I watch the Sunday morning shows for that type of content. I’m not looking for that in a late-night show.

  20. Mr. Smith says:

    I’m thinking they should bring Letterman back.

  21. NJMark says:

    Can the networks stop with the pretense that the post-SB show will actually start at 10:00? These days, the game itself doesn’t start until well after 6:30, with a longer half-time, and the post-game presentation of the trophy, you’re looking at a 10:30 start, at the earliest!

  22. Diz says:

    I tuned out after the horrible Obama & dancing rodents skit & was asking where Letterman was.

  23. HAP says:

    Since Megyn Kelly was a late entrant to the cast, I have wonder what was cut to accommodate her interview. I was upset how they handled Key & Peele. Would have loved to have had them in the studio. Hmmm. Maybe that was cut.