Stephen Colbert criticized his own performance during the early days of The Late Show and to also criticize President Donald Trump. He received a standing ovation for his appearance on Saturday at An Evening with Stephen Colbert at the PaleyFest in Los Angeles. The sold out event was moderated by Pete Holmes.
Despite his current ratings success, the late night host described the tumult during his first six months on set. After he transitioned from The Colbert Report to The Late Show, Colbert struggled to find the right tone for his new role. Taking over for David Letterman and finding the right balance of comedy and political commentary was no small feat.
Colbert shared, “Those first six months felt terrible because you’re having to reinvent a new way to do the show. I had never my entire life done anything as myself, I had always done something in character—I was an actor. It was the first time I had to be me. I didn’t know if I could do that. So I had to learn to do something I’d never done before with a camera in front of me, on live television, in front of a massive audience.”
Stephen Colbert agrees with Jay Leno: Everyone knows your politics.
Colbert also agreed, at least partially, with a recent quote from former Tonight Show host Jay Leno. Leno remarked last week that he does not miss late night hosting duties because, “everyone has to know your politics.” Colbert agreed with Leno that late night hosts need to be transparent about their politics, but Colbert does not mind the pressure. Colbert stated, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying what this person is doing to families and the nation is horrible.”
During his appearance, Colbert also called the President a “delicious idiot” while comparing him to his satirically conservative Comedy Central character. Colbert explained that Trump recently said, “I don’t use my brain. I use my gut,” which was “literally the opening of The Colbert Report.”
Colbert also recalled the first time he called the President an idiot on The Late Show. When the showrunner asked Colbert, “Are you sure you want to call the President of the United States an idiot?,” Colbert responded, “I’m pretty sure.” Over the weekend, Trump again criticized late night television with a tweet criticizing “not funny/no talent” late night shows.
It’s truly incredible that shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of “the other side.” Like an advertisement without consequences. Same with Late Night Shows……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2019
PaleyFest is a prestigious week-long television festival by The Paley Center for Media held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
You can catch The Late Show with Stephen Colbert weekdays on CBS at 11:35 p.m EST.