Stephen Colbert Targets Trump, Plugs Hummus in First 'Late Show'
"For the record, I am not replacing David Letterman," the new 'Late Night' host told audiences during his first episode.
Stephen Colbert took his new post as CBS' Late Night host on Tuesday evening.
Comedy Central's former Colbert Report anchor opened the late-night show (David Letterman relinquished his headlining hosting duties after 22 seasons on May 20) by running to the stage to a standing ovation from the audience and upbeat number from the band.
In his introductory video, he sang the national anthem in numerous locations throughout the United States, including a baseball field, Lucky Strike bowling (he bowled a strike), grass fields and a metal shop, among others.
Bedecked in a blue suit, he thanked audiences for attending as they chanted "Stephen" while clapping and cheering him to the stage.
Colbert during his premiere episode taping
"If I knew you were going to do that, I would have come out here months ago," he joked. "I am so excited to be here right now. I am also excited to be at home six hours from now watching this on TV." He continued with a quip about the recent Ashley Madison hack, "I begin to search for the real Stephen Colbert. I just hope I don't find him on Ashley Madison."
He told fans that he is "a first generation Letterman fan" and "for the record, I am not replacing David Letterman ... We will try to honor his achievement."
Jimmy Fallon also chimed in to Colbert's show with a video clip: "Have a great show, buddy. See you in the locker room."
CBS' Les Moonves sat in the audience in a chair with a lever that had The Mentalist on one side and Late Show on the other and teased that he would switch shows depending on Colbert's hosting abilities.
As Colbert was showing off his new studio, featuring various memorabilia, including the Captain America shield he brandished at the end of the Colbert Report, he pointed out a cursed amulet. Colbert explained that, as the amulet started to growl, in exchange for getting the show, he made a vow to an evil entity, whose full name he said he couldn't say because then the being would appear and "feast on the blood of the innocent," which he's "saving for sweeps." And the deal means he must make "certain regrettable compromises."
As viewers soon discovered as the growling continued, such compromises include plugging Sabra hummus, to which Colbert gave two quick shout-outs.
He proceeded to joke about the presidential candidates. "Even though I have Jeb Bush on the show later tonight, I will be covering all the presidential candidates," he said, showing a photo of Trump, Bush and Hillary Clinton.
"Donald, the Trump, is at it again," he said, referencing a recent video about Trump's comments on Nabisco and the company's manufacturing plant move. "Donald Trump is swearing off of Oreos," Colbert said tearing an Oreo apart and dumping it in milk, later proceeding to stuff his face with Oreos. (Nabisco is the manufacturer of Oreos.)
"That is the only Trump story I'll be treating myself to tonight — well, maybe just one more," he said, addressing Trump's comments about a border wall between Mexico and the U.S.
George Clooney then took the stage as the show's first guest and said to Colbert, "Big night, big show," before wiping off Colbert's face with a napkin that had Oreo cookie on it. "I am just here to see you and I think that's why everybody else is here," he said in reference to not having a show or project to publicize.
The two first discussed his work about bringing attention to the Darfur genocide: "My feeling was I can bring attention and make it louder ... It was a very hard thing to put on the map and keep on the map."
Colbert then joked about him being the "arm candy" of wife Amal Clooney, the actor admitting that said he's mostly "shiny" and "pretty." "It's going really well," he said of his first year of marriage.
Colbert then brought out a Tiffany blue box — joking that he didn't attend, and wasn't invited, to the couple's wedding — that contained an engraved "I don't know you" paperweight. "That's just to remind you that we don't know each other," Colbert said to Clooney.
"It's easier to come on these shows when you do have something to push," Clooney said before a comedic moment of silence between the host and actor.
"We could pretend that you have a movie right now," Colbert quipped, breaking the silence before a spoof video of Clooney in "Decision Strike" played. "I was the director and I wrote it," Clooney joked before another clip aired for audiences.
"I did my own sex. In fact, I do all of my own stunts. I feel the audience deserves it," Clooney said as more footage of "Decision Strike" aired.
Jeb Bush and Colbert
Jeb Bush then joined Colbert as the first presidential candidate and second guest on the show, which the host teased the GOP candidate that the show "is the rare TV appearance where he doesn't have to share the stage with 16 other people."
As Bush sat down, Colbert joked about the studio, "The White House is not nicer than this."
The Late Show host questioned Bush about why he wants to be president, which he replied, "Because I think we're on the verge of the greatest time to be alive." He said that he doesn't "think Barack Obama has bad motives" and that people "can be friends with people that you don't agree with on everything."
Colbert then jokingly asked the GOP candidate what he can do for students ("What can you do other than have your picture up in the classroom?") and also inquired about his slogan, which doesn't include Bush's last name in the design. "I've been using Jeb! since 1994," Bush said.
The Florida governor commented that beside the differences of being "younger" and "much better looking" than his brother and former president George W. Bush, he didn't agree with his sibling's monetary spending while in the Oval Office. "He didn't veto things; he didn't bring fiscal restraint."
Colbert's wife and kids, and brothers and sisters attended the taping and received a shout-out from the host. When Colbert questioned his brother, Jay, if the two of them agreed politically, his sibling nodded his head "no."
In an unaired clip, Colbert asked a question submitted by a raffle winner who wanted to know how Bush would deal with gun violence. That clip can be seen below.
The premiere episode wrapped with the show's musical director Jonathan Batiste, the new band and Mavis Staples singing and dancing — with Colbert — to "Everyday People" while images of the audience members panned across the wall.
On Wednesday evening, Elon Musk, Scarlett Johansson and Kendrick Lamar will join the host for his second episode. Late Show airs Monday through Friday at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.
Hilary Lewis contributed to this report.