Stephen Colbert on Concern of "Normal" Trump: "Something Will Always Be Strange"

The 'Daily Show' and 'Late Show' hosts swapped places on Monday's edition of the CBS late-night program, with Noah interviewing Colbert.
Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah swapped roles when the latter visited The Late Show on Monday.

Noah took on Colbert's hosting duties and introduced him to the audience. The two embraced in a hug before Colbert made his way to the guest seat. "My audience cheered for you like they were your audience," joked Noah.

The two first talked about doing live shows. Colbert explained that the beginning of live taping days tend to be very slow, while the hour leading up to filming is often hectic because the writers are working on the episode. "It's kind of torpor and then just panicked action. Just adrenaline squirting and I'm sure, like collapsing your organs," he said. "Taking a year out of your life to get it right."

Noah asked Colbert if he ever worried that a live taping won't go as planned and used the example of Donald Trump being normal during the State of the Union address. "Trump on prompter is always a worry. If he gets up there and he just reads what he was told to read, the worry is that he'll seem normal and then there's nothing to say," said Colbert. When Noah asked if Colbert had a backup plan, he responded, "I have faith that something will always be strange."

Colbert then stood up to give his Trump "Il Duce" impression, which included him standing up straight and abruptly nodding in different directions.

"I love when he says something complimentary to the Democrats and he goes, 'And I believe that people should not be killed by their health care. Anything? Did you like that,'" he said with his Trump impression as he jokingly addressed the Democrats in the audience. "'We shouldn't actually grind up poor people and eat them. Anything? You're not going to give me anything?'"

Colbert later listed off the news sources he references when preparing for new episodes of the late-night show. After sharing a number of publications, he added that he checks Trump's Twitter account, which he referred to as "a national nanny cam."

The two also discussed Colbert's rough transition from The Colbert Report to The Late Show. "I thought that this is one of the most agonizing things I've ever done," he admitted.

"I worried that I had taken something beautiful, which was sort of this nine-and-a-half-year version of that character. It was sort of like a self-contained little snow globe of a show, which sort of at the end of it we revealed was really just a field piece for Jon [Stewart]," Colbert said about The Colbert Report.

He added that he worried that if he did not succeed at The Late Show, his previous work at The Colbert Report would be overlooked. "I never, in a moment, imagined that I would stop and I never lost faith in the people around me," he said. "I knew that these are the same people around me who helped me create the first thing and it was my job to calm the fuck down and go back to work tomorrow."

He also addressed when The Late Show first topped the late-night ratings. "We bought everybody on the staff pizza," he revealed.

Noah added that pizza is "powerful" among late-night show employees. The Daily Show host said that while he has treated his staff to a number of cuisines, "pizza day is the day when people go, 'Yeah, this is the greatest boss in the world.'"

"Doing a late-night show is a lot like moving into a new apartment. It can be brutal, grunt work to get the thing up everyday and what do you give your friends when they help you move?" said Colbert. " You order pizzas."

The two also discussed Colbert's low-key offscreen life. "I have three children and I'm 54 years old," said Colbert. "I can’t even have a glass of wine on a show night. You know, I can't even drink anymore or else I'll be dead tomorrow."

Watch the full segment below.