When it was announced that Stephen Colbert would succeed David Letterman as host of The Late Show, the response was fairly effusive. And rightly so: Colbert is a universally respected performer, a comedian who, over almost 10 years as host of The Colbert Report, honed his faux-conservative pundit character to uncanny perfection.
He will most likely eschew that character once he takes over Late Show, but from the looks of it he will be just as masterful sans persona. Last night, Letterman invited his successor to the show, and the results didn’t disappoint: the two comic icons played off each other with rapid-fire banter and a carefree spirit. Letterman opened with a compliment, noting that CBS could have just as easily “hired another boob like me.” Colbert, for his part, displayed an easy rapport with the legend he’ll be replacing. The conversation was kept light: the two talked about family trips, dogs, and the craziness required for comedy. And naturally, they took a selfie.
We also got some impromptu backstory regarding Colbert’s Late Show past: In 1986, he got an internship at the show, but turned it down since it was unpaid. In 1997, he applied to be a writer, but was contacted too late for an interview (he read aloud the Top 10 list, “Cocktails for Santa,” he used as an application). The third time was the charm: He took the next offer the show gave him, and will ascend to The Late Show throne come 2015.