As anyone who watched the news, looked at Twitter, logged onto Facebook or listened to the radio last week can tell you, David Letterman is finally retiring after over 30 years of sitting behind a late-night talk-show desk. Of course, for most people in college right now, that isn’t the interesting part of the story. No, the far more intriguing piece of this tale is that Stephen Colbert will be taking Letterman’s place. This also means he’ll be leaving his job on Comedy Central, and “The Colbert Report” will soon come to an end.
As I’m sure many of you feel about this move, I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it or disliked it. I love Colbert (which can also be read as, “I am a college student”), so I’m glad he’s being recognized for his abilities with this move, but I also love his current format and will be sad to see it go. I’m also a fan of “Stephen Colbert,” the character the real Colbert plays on his show, and evidently we’ll be getting the real man on the Late Show, so the character might be retired.
But after taking a little while to sit on this and mull it over, I’ve decided that I’m happy about it. And now I’m going to attempt to convince you that you should be happy about it too.
See, the first real issue I’ve heard from the people I’ve talked to about this is that no one is really sure how the Real Colbert will be as a host. He’s in character so often — and plays that character so well — that people don’t generally have a good idea of how he acts or thinks in real life — they think the actual Colbert might be boring.
But I’m one of the lucky few who actually got to see “The Colbert Report” in person, and something you learn going to that show is that Colbert addresses the audience after the cameras have stopped rolling. And I mean the real Colbert, not the character. Speaking from my own experience, the real deal is still a very funny guy and quick as lightning with his jokes. He’s also very polite and appreciative — he thanked us in the audience at least three times, which made me feel all tingly inside — and seems completely sincere. It’s a huge change from the character, but in a good way.
As for the gaping hole that will be left after Jon Stewart’s half hour is over, I’m sure they’ll find someone to take over from where Colbert will leave off. John Oliver won’t be that guy with his new HBO show, but “The Daily Show” has a whole bunch of talent waiting in the wings. We’ve seen Steve Carell, Ed Helms and Colbert himself launch from spots in the program to bigger and better heights, and I’m sure Aasif Mandvi, Samantha Bee or especially Jason Jones would make great Colbert replacements.
So don’t mourn the loss of “The Colbert Report.” Look forward to whatever new show comes in to replace it, and give it some time — great comedy doesn’t always happen overnight. More importantly, get excited: The world is about to meet a whole new Steven Colbert, and I’m sure you’re all gonna love him.