September 4, 2015

THE STENCH OF FLOP SWEAT:

A sneak peek at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Samantha Rollins, September 4, 2015, The Week)

Of course, a large portion of The Late Show will also feature guests, and thankfully, Colbert so far appears to be steering clear of the silly celebrity stunt-specific interview style of some of his competitors. Interviews with actress and Broadway vet Laura Benanti, comedian Colin Quinn, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar were entertaining, if slightly unpolished, as Colbert still finds his footing while toeing the line between being a sincere late-night interviewer and the Report's deliberately oblivious Colbert character. But Colbert's relatively straight interview style, which seemed to mimic the model of his idol and predecessor, David Letterman, was a welcome and still fun approach in a late-night field crowded with segments that seem aggressively designed to go viral.

That's not to say that The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is devoid of those YouTube-ready moments. They're present, but at least last night, they were executed with levity and excitement that felt organic. While an "impromptu" musical duet of My Fair Lady's "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" between Colbert and Benanti was certainly planned, the bit had a lighthearted, joyful, and unrehearsed energy that one can only hope doesn't dissipate as The Late Show gradually becomes a well-oiled machine.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert isn't yet perfect, and it likely won't be once it begins airing next week. The test taping had its highs and lows, but all I could think about upon leaving the Ed Sullivan Theater was the genuinely playful spirit that Colbert and everyone involved in The Late Show with Stephen Colbert projected. 

Just as Jon Stewart could not withstand the departure of Colbert--the conservative id that putative liberals tuned in for--neither can Stephen. 

Posted by at September 4, 2015 2:03 PM
  

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