We are now a couple of weeks into the run of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” and we are starting to get a good sense of what the host’s strengths and weaknesses are on CBS. He is an extremely smart, gifted performer who comes up with fun jokes and segments, and while he struggles somewhat to find the right tone for celebrity interviews, we do think that he will figure it out. The trick here will be getting stars to adapt more to his style, which is conducting fluff-free interviews that ask interesting questions and teach viewers something new.
Where Colbert shines are in the in-depth interviews with people who are not there to promote a film. That is why he has had people like Ban Ki-Moon on his show; these are perspectives he wants to bring to the table, and to go along with that, he wants to speak with an array of politicians. One of the challenges for him is that being on CBS, the network needs to ensure that equal time is given to candidates. Colbert’s Comedy Central persona is known for making a mockery of many conservatives, and he cannot have the same thing happen here. We don’t think that he wants to. While Stephen has made his own views very clear, he wants to speak with Republicans.
That is what makes the interview with Ted Cruz below so fascinating. Once you get past the three-minute mark the discussion of gay marriage comes up, and Cruz makes a stance about states’ rights that proves to be unpopular with the audience. After a few in the audience specifically boo Cruz over some of his remarks, Colbert specifically says to the crowd “however you feel, he’s my guest, so please don’t boo him.”
The fear for Colbert has to be making an environment that is so uncomfortable for conservatives that they do not want to come on the show; in turn, it will be harder to book liberals on the show. He wants to keep this an open environment, and this is why we feel boo-gate (if you want to call it that) may be the most significant moment we’ve seen from the new show so far. It’s not an issue of personal belief for the host; it is one of comfort.
We’re going to continue to follow along with this subject, but for now head over here to get some other news on “The Late Show.” Also, you can sign up here to get some other TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: CBS.)