There’s a lot about Stephen Colbert‘s first episode at the helm of CBS‘ revered Late Show post that suggests his version of the show isn’t exactly going to be your typical, fluffy viral-focused late night offering that your Jimmy Fallon‘s and your James Corden‘s are currently serving up.
Whether it’s Colbert’s decision to open with a simple video of him in various hyper-American locales singing the National Anthem, his choice of band leader – Louisiana jazz maestro Jon Batiste and his band Stay Human, the reference to the show’s official title being “The Late Show With starring Stephen Colbert,” or having CBS head honcho Les Moonves in the front row to jokingly switch the network’s feed to an in-progress episode of The Mentalist inside the first minute on air.
It’s a similar-yet-different brush being applied here to the one he used with great effect on The Colbert Report. So while Fallon and Corden pump out the cute, inoffensive, internet-aimed segments with celebrities-of-the-moment or nostalgic favourites, Colbert starts his first episode with George Clooney and Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush.
He also unloads 9 months of pent-up comedic aggression that the glorious/terrifying trainwreck that is Donald Trump has caused him.
Also, Oreos. He eats a shitload of Oreos.
There are more than a few similarities to John Oliver and the format popularised by Last Week Tonight on display here (seriously, the left-side inset graphics, the hamming up to on-screen images, the desk-bound monologues interspersed with C-Span/MSNBC/CNN/Fox News footage? It’s all there).
But there’s not many TV presenters walking the planet who can say they opened their first episode of a network variety show by paying out a Presidential candidate whilst scoffing down a bunch of biscuits.
It’s nice. It’s different. It’s unusual.