What we still need from Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert participates in the "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" segment of the CBS Summer TCA Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Stephen Colbert participates in the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” segment of the CBS Summer TCA Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif.

(Richard Shotwell / Invision / Associated Press)

Dear Stephen:

I realize it’s a little late to be offering advice about a show that airs tonight, especially amid all the chatter about who you really are and what it really means. Frankly it’s been a little creepy watching everyone try to guess what you might and might not do with “The Late Show,” as if just waiting to see were not a real option.

People seem so invested, you know? In how you’re going to adjust to the new gig and the new network, if you’re going to be different somehow, now that you’ve hit the big time. Less truthy, less you-y. Or maybe more you-y. It’s just unclear and many folks seem pretty anxious about it.

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And by anxious I mean obsessed, really, like the Kathy Bates character in “Misery.” People just loved you so much in “The Colbert Report.” Now you’ve gone and killed that character and you’re asking us to welcome his replacement, which frankly is a lot to ask. Of even your biggest fans.

Not that you need to worry or anything. I mean you’re on national television, for heaven’s sake; if someone, say, became unhappy with the direction of the show and decided to hold you captive until you fixed the show so that your biggest fans were happy, everyone would know, right? (Blink once for yes, twice for no.)

I personally am not worried. I personally know you’re going to be just fine. But just in case you were still making changes, still wondering what you should keep and what you should toss, I’ve made a little list.

1. Keep: The nuns. Liberal Christianity gets almost no air time these days and “The Colbert Report” was one of the few places Catholicism was in on, as opposed to being the butt of, the joke. Jesuits and Martin Sheen also welcome, but activist nuns are the bomb.
2. Toss: The Bud Light Lime. I know it was a joke about the crassness of product placement, and this product, but fruit-flavored beer is a crime against humanity and crimes against humanity are rarely funny.
3. Keep: The elves. Being the host of “The Late Show” does not mean you are now too cool to speak elvish, Entish and Khuzdul. The Black Speech should, of course, only be used on specially somber occasions. Like when you interview Donald Trump.
4. Toss: “Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger” It always seemed like an inordinately long title for a standing bit. What’s wrong with, say “Keep ‘n Toss”?
5. Keep: “The Word.” It belongs to the people now.
6. Toss: Bill O’Reilly, as guest, topic or subtext. You don’t need him any more. Papa Bear has served his purpose.
7. Keep: Jon Stewart. You’re going to have him on, right? A lot? Because we hear he’s pretty funny and the two of you are super adorable together.

Just a few suggestions, not that you need them. Everybody’s rooting for you, not that you should feel pressure. As long as you make “The Late Show” worth the loss of “The Colbert Report,” it will be fine. Though some of us really miss “The Colbert Report” and, for the record, the Waze deal doesn’t count in that equation. Especially since, as much as we love Waze, it doesn’t seem to understand that you can’t make a left-hand turn onto La Cienega from any point at any time of day, ever. Even you can’t make that happen, Stephen Colbert.

But stick with nuns, elves and Jon Stewart, and “The Late Show” will sort itself out.

Break a leg!



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