(Opinion) The fall of The Late Show

(Opinion) The fall of The Late Show

The year is 2015, and I had just discovered the Colbert Report- a satirical take on the news. I was hooked immediately, and it quickly became the highlight of our evening. Sure, I had seen clips from talk shows before, but nothing got me like his hilarious Daft Punk dance segment. Now I think I can say that I am officially over Colbert.

For those of you who don’t know, the Colbert Report (pronounced ColBear Repour) was a late night talk show on Comedy Central. In it, Stephen would portray a very exaggerated right-wing conservative man in order to provide a foil to his real beliefs. The show would be informative and funny with recurring segments thrown in. The majority of this show was a monologue, but the occasional guest would arrive and promo whatever they are working on. When the show ended, he went on break for quite a while, and then was announced to begin hosting the Late Show as a replacement for David Letterman. The show has maintained the monologue followed by guests, but now there are 3 guests instead of two/1, and they make up 75% of the show.

I think my dislike for the Late Show has grown over a long period of time because for the first year or so, I was loving it and the Trump election was the perfect material for him to cover with his snarky attitude. However, over the past month or so, I have become disenchanted with the whole thing. The jokes have become more predictable, and much shallower. There is no easier comedy material than the current US president, and I am by no means a fan of him, but it has become a bit boring to make jokes like “haha you are orange” or “haha you are stupid”. While possibly true statements, it’s just a boring joke to make and doesn’t make me laugh anymore.

Once the monologue was a highlight of my night, now it tends to be a bit of a timewaster at best, and constant promos of his book have become a bit sad. I don’t know much about the book or how well received it has been, but every mention of it feels like a “please… please buy my book… nobody is buying it”. Whether or not this is true, it feels pretty rough and jarring from the consistent riffs.

One of my biggest problems with the new format is the amount of time dedicated to interviews. While he does have a few gems such as the James Franco interview, where he actually addressed the accusations head-on, most of them are basically a PR segment for that actor, director, or musician. It feels like sitting down to watch a 10-minute ad for a movie I don’t have a lot of interest in, and honestly, 80% of those interviews involved people I wasn’t interested in. It is easy to see from a cynical business perspective why CBS would make this decision, but it feels like the show has become a little bit more lifeless.

While on the topic of CBS, I think they were a large factor in the watering down of the show itself. I wouldn’t be surprised if they dictated what segments made it into the show. Things like midnight confessions are much more bare bones than the segments on his previous show, and he plays himself instead of a silly character. The whole experience just feels like the Colbert Report, but longer and watered down.

I really wish I still liked Stephen’s show, he truly is funny and has a good sense of comedy. However, CBS seems to limit him to ways Comedy central just didn’t. It isn’t all lost though, Trevor Noah (who took over Colbert’s slot on comedy central) is still an amazing source for current events satire, and John Oliver takes the parts I liked about the Colbert Report and amplifies them with non-political segments thrown in. But I think it is time for me and the Late Show to say goodbye for now.


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