Stephen Colbert Teases Monologue Mystery, Jokes About "Cooking" With Jeb Bush

Stephen Colbert - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Stephen Colbert - H 2015

He and Jon Stewart tell The New York Times what they talked about doing after their Comedy Central shows as CBS CEO Les Moonves says Colbert's political understanding distinguishes him from his competitors.

How will Stephen Colbert greet the audience on his new Late Show?

Will he refer to them as "nation," as he used to do as his conservative character on The Colbert Report?

No, it seems Colbert has opted for a simpler opening line on CBS.

"How about 'hi'? I like that," Colbert told his staffers, according to The New York Times, as they talked about options for how he should address the audience at the top of a sketch, considering words like "citizens," "neighbors" and "friends."

That's just one new tidbit of information about how Colbert's new Late Show will sound and look as such details trickle out ahead of Tuesday night's premiere. The Times story, posted online on Wednesday and set to appear in Sunday's paper, provides a longer look at CBS' new host along with a photo of the newly-renovated Ed Sullivan Theater and an image of Colbert dancing with his house band, band leader Jon Batiste and his staffers on the roof as they filmed part of the show's opening credits.

Colbert and Co. danced during a recent, Monday night rooftop party, for 200 or so of his Late Show employees, while a camera swooped in, The Times explained, for a few seconds of footage in the opening credits.

But while Colbert gave The Times a peek behind-the-scenes, he wouldn't confirm he'd do an opening monologue, responding to a comment about assuming Colbert would open the show the way his peers do with "Really? Are you going to do a monologue?"

He also joked about his plans for opening-night guest Jeb Bush, saying that he and the 2016 presidential candidate would "do a cooking segment, probably" before adding he doesn't know what he'll do with his first political guest.

Still, CBS CEO Les Moonves told The Times that Colbert's political understanding gives him an edge over his competitors going into an election year.

"Frankly, that’s not what Fallon or Kimmel does, particularly,” Moonves said.

As has been widely reported, Colbert decided he'd end his Comedy Central late-night show before he got the Late Show gig, but Jon Stewart tells The Times that as the two of them talked about what to do after they left their respective shows, he told Colbert to think about The Late Show even before Letterman announced he was stepping down, explaining that his colleague would likely be considered for the job when Letterman decided to leave.

Still, at the time — when Colbert admits he was still mourning the loss of his mother, who died in June 2013 — Colbert wondered if he could do it.

Stewart told The Times: "I think it took him a while to figure out: Can I get excited about this? Can I bring the kind of energy and enthusiasm I’m going to need every day? Because these types of shows use every part of the host, as the ancient Americans would say."

So what would Colbert have done if he hadn't gotten the Late Show job? He tells The Times he had "three good ideas" for a next step but wouldn't reveal what those were, explaining "If I tell you, somebody else will do it."

Stewart, meanwhile, joked that he and Colbert could join forces for a theatrical production.

"There were many times where we talked about just doing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead on Broadway, leaving it all behind and just doing that," he told The Times.