USA Today, TVInsider, THR, EW, Variety

Here’s a Quick Round-Up of TV Critics’ Comments on Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Debut — and a Clip of Colbert’s Best Bit on His First Show

Sep 9, 2015  •  Post A Comment

Robert Bianco, USA Today:

“He’ll need to relax a bit: As you might expect, given the stakes and the hype, he seemed a bit over-caffeinated. But calm will almost certainly come with time.”

“Blame nerves or excess adrenaline, but for whatever reason, Colbert’s chat with Clooney felt oddly stilted, with uncertain transitions from serious topics to prearranged comedy. He actually seemed more at ease with his second guest, Governor Bush (‘Oh, you were so close to getting them to clap!’), perhaps because that interview fell more squarely within his old ‘Report’ wheelhouse.”

Matt Roush, TVInsider

“The first-night jitters were obvious, including clunky editing of the interviews (Bush’s felt especially truncated), uneven pacing and an overall manic quality that most truly paid off during Colbert’s much-anticipated Donald Trump riff.”

“Clearly, Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ won’t revolutionize the late-night talk format as much as eventually tailor it to his own sensibilities, promising substance as well as silliness.”

Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

“Not surprisingly, this first night seemed like an amalgamation of every piece of Colbert — from pre-‘Daily Show’ TV stuff all the way through post-Colbert Report weirdness that he exhibited online while touting his new CBS series over the summer. There were some nerves — how could there not be? — and there were plenty of flashes of the wickedly smart and super-fast comedic intellect he’s honed over the years. Did it all work? Of course not. But what I liked most was the feeling that Colbert was going to reveal a side of himself that he didn’t get to show much on the ‘Colbert Report’ or even ‘The Daily Show’ — a side that was much more reflective of his days on ‘Strangers With Candy’ or even the ‘Dana Carvey Show.'”

Melissa Maerz, Entertainment Weekly

“Is late-night ready for another politically minded, semi-absurdist host at a time when so much programming is geared toward breezy chit-chat and broad morning-after memes? … [I]t’s up to Colbert to make smart late-night programming relevant again. Whether he can do that as the ‘real’ Colbert remains to be seen. But so far, he’s good at pushing guests like [Jeb] Bush to reveal something real about themselves.”

Brian Lowry, Variety

“The clunky elements within the expanded premiere, actually, were somewhat beyond Colbert’s control, foremost among them a staggering nine-minute break between Clooney and Bush. Yes, the network’s got to pay the bills, but even allowing for the fact the original material was frontloaded, that felt borderline numbing — a description that also applies to the audience continuing to chant, ‘Stephen! Stephen!’ well past the opening love fest.

“Colbert closed the show by joining Mavis Staples and his band in a joyous sing-along, reflecting the infusion of energy he brings to this CBS franchise. Although he joked at the outset about the benefits of having nine months to produce a single hour of TV, Colbert looks like he has the skill set to settle in and make this job his own, night in and night out.”

Here’s a video of Colbert’s funniest bit he did during last night’s show:


  1. It seems all the reviews have forgotten the manic Steve Allen version of late night comedy. Or weren’t born.

    • Letterman was never this funny, ever.

    • My $0.02:For what little it’s worth, I precidt that President Obama will win, with north of 300 Electoral College votes maybe even north of 320.The Democrats will hold the Senate, with probably 54 seats, maybe even north of 55.The Democrats will make some gains in the House, but fall short of the majority. My thinking is that D’s gain about 10 seats.I think what will put President Obama back in the White House, keep the Democrats is a Senate majority, and gains in the House, is women.Women. Republicans have some very misogynistic candidates running, and they’ve let their freak fly in the open. Legitimate rape? REALLY?!?!?!?! WTF is illegitimate rape,’ then?I have done polling for the Republicans, and I don’t think the polls reflect what’s really out there.In my experience, if a Republican woman answers the phone for a poll, she almost universally hands the phone to her husband. I got HIS opinion not hers.Now, I have no evidence to support this, but I think a lot of Republicans wives, sisters, mothers, aunts, will go in the voting booth, and vote for the Democrats. And when they leave, they will dutifully tell their significant others, that, Of course, I voted for Mitt, and ____________ for the Senate, and _______________ for the House!’ And since older couples tend to vote together, even the Exit Polls may not reflect their votes since they’ll want to carry on the facade of voting for the Republicans.Of course, this may be wishful thinking on my part. But I don’t think so.And so, if the voter suppression doesn’t work the way the Conservatives intended, and intimidating the voters in certain locations doesn’t work, and the Electronic Voting Machines in certain districts don’t flip faster than Mitt Romney, then Barack Hussein Obama will be reelected as POTUS.What we need in this country, is a Voter’s Rights Amendment, so that ALL 50 states have the SAME requirements to vote!And if that involves photo ID, then fine give people the next two years to make sure that they can get it. Right now, some Secretary of State in OH, or Governor of PA, can set up some BS arbitrary voting requirements right before a national election, and make minority voters jump through hoops.As bad as today’s Whoreporatist Democrats are, at least they’re inclusive they want as many people to vote as possible. The Republicans only want older white voters to count and preferably, males.That, and we need shorter election cycles.Right now, even before their hands are off the Bible when they’re sworn in, politicians are running for reelection.Saner countries have shorter election cycles.But then, no one has ever confused America with a sane country.After breakfast, I’ll be taking my Obama-lovin’ Mama to vote.And then, I’ve volunteered to drive people to the polls.I’ll be home to make us dinner, and then, make myself a large drink, and settle in to watch the results on MSNBC.And if VA goes for Obama when the polls close at 7pm, then maybe we’ll have an early night.Of course, the voting machines won’t flip until late at night, so I may wake up to find that Romney stole the election. But that’s SOOOOOO 2000/2004!Don’t give the Conservatives a close election that they can play havoc with.The best revenge, is voting. In large numbers. SO, GO VOTE!!!

  2. Meh…. My official first impression.

  3. One nit- pick. Colbert seems to be OVER PREPARED about his guests and does not let them converse with a natural cadence. He asks a canned question and then interrupts and talks over his guest as they attempt to answer while peppering them with yet another question and repeats that cycle over and over. Let your guests have the spot light Stephen…JEEZ…

  4. Drove past a high school en route to work, saw a line of young autdls shivering in the chill morning air as they held up signs for the Democratic candidates and reminders to GO VOTE.In my city’s public school district, Obama and Bob Kerrey won the student poll for President and U.S. Senator. Obama also won the straw poll in my niece’s school district. Our states are both deep, deep red on Nate Silver’s map.My poor niece turns 18 next February. She is really upset that she’s missing this election. O could use every single vote today, and I know he’d have hers. For her sake as much as anyone’s, I sure hope we pull this off.

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