By John Connor Coulston // Assistant A&E Editor
Fresh off the heels of Jimmy Fallon’s ascension to “The Tonight Show” throne, “The Late Show” host David Letterman announced that he would be leaving the late night talk show in 2015 after 22 years as host.
As soon as Letterman announced his retirement, speculation ran wild as to who would take the comedy legend’s spot. With names like Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O’Brien and Jon Stewart being thrown around as possible replacements, it seemed like we were in for a long waiting period before we’d find out who would take “The Late Show’s” reigns. However, within a week of Letterman’s announcement, CBS revealed that Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert would be filling Letterman’s shoes.
If you aren’t familiar with Colbert’s “The Colbert Report,” it’s a politically focused parody news broadcast where Colbert portrays an exaggerated uber-Republican form of himself analyzing the day’s news and interviewing guests at the political right’s expense. It’s a sister-show to Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” except the emphasis is on Colbert’s cartoon-like character.
However, Colbert will be abandoning his persona and instead just be himself. This has caused fans and critics alike to bring up two questions: “Can Colbert be funny out of character?” and “How much of his political commentary will carry over to ‘The Late Show’?”
My answer to the first of those questions is a resounding, “Yes.” Even though the focal point of Colbert’s career has been “The Colbert Report,” he’s still a comedian at the end of the day.
Look no further than his early career in comedy troupes and even his short-lived stint as a “Good Morning America” correspondent. When it comes down to it, he’s just a funny guy, regardless of what character he’s portraying.
In addition to his own comedic abilities, he’ll surely be bringing his crew of writers with him to CBS. While this may be a red flag for those questioning the show’s potential political content, I say don’t worry. If you’re an avid watcher of “The Colbert Report,” you’ll know that he doesn’t just discuss political issues.
He also takes on social and pop-culture issues, as well as interview movie stars, musicians, and the like. Just because the show favors political commentary doesn’t mean the writers don’t have the ability to write about the varying issues of the day.
While Colbert might not be traditional entertainer or comedian in the vein of competitors Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, his time on “The Colbert Report” will be his biggest asset.
His “Late Show” gig won’t be that far of a cry from what he’s been doing for the last nine years on Comedy Central. No matter your feeling on Colbert replacing Letterman, come 2015, late night TV is about to get a lot more interesting.
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