Rubber Sword. A rubber sword is something you practice with before you graduate on to the next level. Level Up: +800K to income, and +2 dragon slaying. In a lot of ways the Colbert Report was a rubber sword, as this week Stephen Colbert will be moving on to bigger and better things. Emmy’s that are twice the size? Yet, we can’t help but wonder what the future will be now that the TV icon, Stephen Colbert, has left his persona behind and will be taking over for David Letterman.
For more than nine years we knew Stephen Colbert as an arrogant, obstinate, flag-waving parody, who was obsessed with Lord of the Rings, but that will not be the man we who hosts The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The old Colbert is dead. RIPundit. Instead, the world will finally meet the real man, the thoughtful, liberal, articulate, clever comedian who is obsessed with Lord of the Rings. For the actor and talk show host taking over the Late Show this is an incredible opportunity, and we here at The NYRD wish him all the best. If you have taken a walk down Broadway lately you would have noticed that he has already revamped the outside of the Ed Sullivan theater with a brand new and incredibly awesome marquee. The Marquis de Colbert, but is he ready for this next chapter in his TV journey?
Colbert has a long road to climb and big shoes to fill, not just those of David Letterman, but of Stephen Colbert the character. He is going to face direct comparisons to his fake-self, Every morning in the mirror, as well as to his past satirical style of humor. The comparisons are not wholly unfair, either. The fake Colbert has a large body of work and accomplishments for a man who may or may not exist, Schrödinger’s Colbert. More to the point he has earned the love and respect of the viewing audience for over nine years, and that is a hard act to follow. Yet, if there is one person who can do it, it may be the actual Stephen Colbert.
The comedian has already demonstrated that he has the ability and the drive to put on a great show. The very fact that the Colbert character worked for so long is a testament to his comedic timing and improv skills. The real Stephen has already released a variety of YouTube clips that could be classified as comedic proof of his brilliance, and even did a late night cable access show in July, in Monroe, Michigan as if by accident. The same way anyone ends up in Michigan. These small previews of what to come are the glimmers of hope that could help Stephen Colbert become more than just another talking/joking head of late night TV. He has never shied away from the spotlight or from making the big statement. His ability to make a flippant comment that could be simultaneously hysterical, poignant, and uncomfortably probing, Like a hemorrhoid examination, was part of his charm. Despite his humor he never let his guests get away without answering the tough questions, much like his predecessor, David Letterman.
Now this move from cable gives him a much larger and louder platform, and that can very positive, as part of Colbert’s appeal has always been his willingness to help. Col-Aide. Yet, it also means that there is more room for failure, and more people to not get his jokes or his outrageous antics. This will be late night TV without a net. Non-Net-Work Network TV. The old character of Colbert is now part of the annals of television history and we fear we may never see his like again. Bill O’Reilly fears the opposite. He left this world for the undying lands along with Santa Claus, Abraham Lincoln, and Alex Trebek, The Ho Ho Holy Trinity, and since his departure we have been left with one less person who could truly engage in the work of bringing laughter while making the world a better place for it. That is what Colbert, both real and fake one, has always done best. We can only hope that he continues to do so on his new show.
With the loss of Jon Stewart, we are in desperate need for a late night comedian with a conscience, and who better than the master wizard of late night himself. Unexpecto Stephum. Though, we are certain, this new show will not be as politically charged there is still plenty of room for controversy and to cause the kind of trouble that Colbert the character was always so good at. Whether running for President, creating a Super PAC, getting a treadmill on the International Space Station named after him, and even a species of invasive ant, we could always count on the character to create a little havoc in this world. Sufficed to say, he had an impact, but there was a mind behind the antics and a man who used his position to touch so many people, All lawsuits are still pending, both as a TV personality and a philanthropist.
Colbert has raised money for a variety of causes, not the least of which was for our soldiers overseas. He helped save the US Speed Skating team, and even played in Baghdad for the troops during the Iraq War. Bob Hopiness. He testified before Congress, and lampooned two Presidents of the United States to their faces. Dinner was served. Stephen Colbert has already made a difference, and as much as we will never forget the stoney-eyed, self-sure, chest thumping conservative, we have confidence in the kind, genuine, and funny man who was always behind that mask. He found a way of inviting the viewer to laugh with him at the absurdity of any situation. If there is one hope we have The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, it is that it continues to help us laugh at ourselves and at the world around us.
We have faith in Stephen Colbert’s showmanship, his humor, his ability to leave us in hysterics, but most importantly, in his desire to make the world better. He has already shown he can do just that. Glenn Beck is off TV. That need to do good, to change the world and people’s perception, is one thing that cannot end with this move to network TV. After all, there is something truly amazing about having the ability to make a point without actually hurting anyone. Rubber Sword.
And that’s the word.