I have now entered into a committed relationship with Stephen Colbert. Yes, the new host of Late Night has reached the pinnacle of his career. By taking over for David Letterman, and taking a unique approach to late night TV, Colbert has scored a coveted spot within my DVR’s recording schedule (not easy to do).
I now have had the opportunity to watch a few of his shows. At first glance, it will look a lot like all the others. Similar set, a band, opening monologue, celebrity guests, etc (why do all shows have to do the same format?). But pay attention more closely and you will start to see the subtle differences. First and foremost is Colbert’s personality. Many wondered if he would carry over his “character” from his fake news show. He didn’t, but Colbert is very quirky, smart, and sarcastic. His interviews are different, his tactics different, and unlike Jay Leno, he knows when to shut up and let the guest run the table. He is friendly and fun but does not indulge in silly games and does not kiss the ass of every guest who walks on stage.
In fact, what grabbed my attention the most was an interview he did with the CEO of Uber. When is the last time you saw a news-maker interviewed on late night TV? I am honestly not sure I’ve ever seen a news style segment within a late night network entertainment show. The interview itself was fascinating. Colbert fired away, asking an unexpected array of tough questions about the ride sharing service and some of its biggest complaints. The guest appeared caught off guard, and looked as though he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or attempt to answer the questions. The whole thing was both a bit awkward and refreshing. Why not combine the same old celebrity movie junket interviews with some news of the day?
I am now working on a special Stephen Colbert prep outline as part of my media training services.
By the way, the “T” in Colbert is still silent.