CBS: After Playing ‘Right-Wing’ ‘Idiot,’ Colbert Offers ‘Thinking Person’s Comedy Show’

In a report for Tuesday’s CBS This Morning promoting liberal comedian Stephen Colbert’s debut as host of The Late Show, correspondent Vladimir Duthiers proclaimed: “Colbert had that distinctive voice. His character on The Colbert Report, also named Stephen Colbert, was, in his words, ‘a poorly formed high-status idiot’....It was a parody of a right-wing political pundit, funny to many, but not what he can or will bring to CBS.”

Soundbites were featured of New York Times chief television critic James Poniewozik declaring: “I think he’s expected to and wants to bring over much of his audience, which is younger than the other late-night audiences in same time slot....And I think there may be a bit of a branding effort that, you know, fits with his actual persona of kind of being the thinking person's comedy show.”

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Following the report from Duthiers, co-host Gayle King gushed: “I’ve already set my DVR. I like, guys, how he says it's a thinking person's comedy show. He’s locked and loaded, ready to do this thing. I predict he’s going to do great with a capitol “G.” Congrats, Stephen Colbert, we’re waiting.”

Here is a full transcript of the September 8 segment:

7:43 AM ET

JOHN DICKERSON: Tonight is the moment Late Show fans spent the summer waiting for. Stephen Colbert debuts as host. His move to CBS is the latest seismic shift in a year of change for TV comedy. Vladimir Duthiers of our digital network CBSN is outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York. Vlad, Good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Late Show’s New Era; Colbert Brings His Unique Voice to CBS Tonight]

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS: Good morning. The Late Show was launched a little more than 22 years ago and in all that time only one name has graced the marquis here at the Ed Sullivan Theater – David Letterman. But it’s now Stephen Colbert's show and the question is, who is the real Stephen Colbert?

STEPHEN COLBERT: Welcome to the Report and thank you for joining us ladies and gentlemen!

DUTHIERS: For nearly a decade Stephen Colbert entertained his cable audience as host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

COLBERT: Will you forgive me?

DUTHIERS: Tonight, he takes charge of The Late Show.

COLBERT: Hi, I'm Stephen Colbert, host of the Late Show starting this fall.

DUTHIERS: Entering a network late-night landscape that he helped transform.

COLBERT: Let’s start the show!

DUTHIERS: One much more crowded than it once was.

JAMES PONIEWOZIK [NEW YORK TIMES CHIEF TELEVISION CRITIC]: There are many more voices vying for attention. Late night is not necessarily the big tent that it used to be under Johnny Carson and really more an environment in which one wants to establish a distinctive voice.

COLBERT: Tonight at 8:00 p.m. Mexican Standard Time, Generalisimo Obama-

DUTHIERS: Colbert had that distinctive voice. His character on The Colbert Report...

COLBERT: Do you think I should just get a freshen up?

DUTHIERS: ...also named Stephen Colbert, was, in his words, “a poorly formed high-status idiot.”

COLBERT: Nation, I consider myself a proud Bible-thumper. Of course I stopped when I discovered the Bible frowns on premarital thumping.

DUTHIERS: It was a parody of a right-wing political pundit, funny to many, but not what he can or will bring to CBS. He shared some vision of the new show with Sunday Morning’s Mo Rocca.

COLBERT: The goal is to have fun with my friends. And you know, that means sometimes talking about things that you care about. We’re gonna want to be talking about what’s going on in the world.

PONIEWOZIK: I think he’s expected to and wants to bring over much of his audience, which is younger than the other late-night audiences in same time slot. And I think that a big reason why CBS wants him.

COLBERT [SINGING]: My name’s Stephen Colbert, from my head down to my feet.

DUTHIERS: Broadening the audience is key. Colbert takes over for David Letterman, whose Late Show has ranked second to Tonight Show since 2009. A look at upcoming guests reveals a mix of celebrities, like George Clooney and Scarlet Johansson, politicians Jeb Bush and Vice President Joe Biden, and business leaders like Tesla founder Elon Musk.

PONIEWOZIK: And I think there may be a bit of a branding effort that, you know, fits with his actual persona of kind of being the thinking person's comedy show.

COLBERT [SINGING]: Why do we live?

DUTHIERS: And naturally, there will be laughs. Colbert got his start on the improv stage of Chicago's Second City. It’s training that sharpened his wit and comedy agility.

COLBERT: Who knows who’ll show up in our celebrity ball pit?

DUTHIERS: In other words, expect surprises.

CHARLIE ROSE [ON COLBERT REPORT]: Hello!

DUTHIERS: Famously, Bill Murray was Letterman's first guest here on The Late Show. Tonight that honor goes to George Clooney. Also, presidential candidate Jeb Bush will be stopping by. And John, check out the cover of The New York Daily News today.

DICKERSON: That’s great. Vlad, thanks. Is that where Charlie is now?

NORAH O’DONNELL: In a ball pit somewhere?

DICKERSON: That’s right. And you can watch the very first Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight at 11:35/10:35 Central here on CBS. I can't wait.

GAYLE KING: Me too, I’ve already set my DVR. I like, guys, how he says it's a thinking person's comedy show. He’s locked and loaded, ready to do this thing.

O’DONNELL: Great guests, yeah.

KING: I predict he’s going to do great with a capitol “G.” Congrats, Stephen Colbert, we’re waiting.

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