Stephen Colbert on his love for ‘Stranger Things’ and his promise of nudity at Sunday’s Emmys


Stephen Colbert may be new to the award show-hosting game, but he rolled out the red carpet like a professional on Tuesday morning as part of the run-up to the 69th Emmy Awards, which he will emcee on Sunday at 5 p.m. PT on CBS.

“It’s an honor to be hosting the Emmys, and it’s even more of an honor installing the carpet,” Colbert told the assembled crowd of photographers, camera operators and reporters. Despite the early hour, Colbert was riffing in full late-night comedy mode. “How much was this? Six dollars a yard? I’m going to re-grout the bathrooms right after.”

Joined by Emmy show producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss along with CBS Entertainment’s Jack Sussman and the Television Academy’s Hayma Washington, Colbert wore his familiar amused expression through much of the event, which featured the news that TV legends Norman Lear and Carol Burnett will appear as presenters. Not to be outdone, Colbert also offered an announcement of how the show, under his lead, would feature nudity for the first time.


“Look forward to my butt crack,” he dryly promised, and soon after led the quintet in kicking out the red carpet, gamely skipping behind it as he nudged it forward. “I feel like a lumberjack,” he deadpanned afterward.

Emmy Awards telecast host Stephen Colbert talks to media following the official red carpet rollout for the 69th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

We caught up with Colbert for a few moments on his freshly laid creation to talk TV and his upcoming gig at the Emmys.

With your schedule, do you get to watch much TV?

No! My kids are like, “Dad, you have to watch this one.”

What did you love this year?

I looooved “Stranger Things.” I was late to the party, but I absolutely love it. That is my childhood. I was those kids playing “Dungeons & Dragons.” I’m first generation D&D, baby. I went to Gen Con, I met [D&D inventor] Gary Gygax, man. I played with [early D&D writer] Len Lakofka. Yeah, deep cut.


The design of [“Stranger Things”] was so incredible. The sheets that the kids have on the bed? Those were my sheets. My mom bought those sheets for me in 1978. Did they win? They should win.

Did you binge on anything?

‘The Crown.” The reboot of “Gilmore Girls.” You can’t go wrong with a little English accent. John Lithgow as Churchill is amazing.

Going into the show, with the climate that we’re in, do you feel any pressure to not go too political, or to keep it light in some way?

(Grinning) I always keep it light, baby. It’s late night, we keep it light!

Let’s put it this way, how much Trump is too much Trump?

Our present amount. Exactly one Trump. Look, the show is about television, the Emmys celebrate television. And there’s only one television star this year. Sorry, Milo’s abs! It is Donald Trump.


How do you like your Emmy chances, by the way?

One in six. That’s how I like my chances.

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