Stephen Colbert Jokes New Beard Means He "Might Have Sex With Princess Leia"

Stephen Colbert with Beard - H 2015

Stephen Colbert with Beard - H 2015

Stepping out two months after the end of his Comedy Central show, the comedian was sporting a thick gray beard.

Stephen Colbert has stayed out of the spotlight since the end of The Colbert Report more than two months ago.

But Thursday night, he attended the 10th annual Oscar Wilde Awards in Santa Monica.

And there was something a bit different about Colbert. Specifically, the normally clean-shaven host had grown a thick gray beard, which seemed to cause quite a stir at the event and has subsequently received a great deal of attention online.

Colbert told reporters that his new look is the result of having a few months off, before he starts preparing to take over for David Letterman as the host of CBS' The Late Show.

"This is my 'time off' look," Colbert told reporters, according to People. "I was curious what I actually looked like, and it turns out it's this."

He added to The Daily Beast, "I have not allowed this to happen to my face since college because I've been working professionally pretty constantly since then. I have like nine months where nobody has to see me, so I said, 'I wonder what I look like?' "

Colbert's first episode of The Late Show is scheduled to air on Sept. 8.

Former Colbert Report writer Barry Julien told The Hollywood Reporter at Saturday's Writers Guild Awards in New York that Colbert's team has been enjoying some downtime since The Report ended.

When he took the stage to accept his award as an "honorary Irishman," Colbert joked that the beard had been there for years. "Technically, for the record, I'm not in character right now; this is me," he said. "A lot of people didn't know this: The real Stephen Colbert had a beard the whole time. I was just so deeply in character for 10 years, you never noticed. That's how good of an actor I am."

Earlier fellow Oscar Wilde recipient Carrie Fisher complimented Colbert on his facial hair. "Stephen Colbert is going to get so laid with this new beard," she said.

During his speech, Colbert joked, "I not sure what's more exciting: getting this award or the fact that I might have sex with Princess Leia tonight."

The event, presented by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance and hosted by J.J. Abrams, was held at Abrams' Bad Robot production office.