Stephen Colbert Returns to Showtime for Live Election Special

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
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The event follows his memorable night-of coverage of the 2016 results four years ago.

In 2016, Stephen Colbert brought his late-night comedy to CBS' sister network Showtime for a live election-night special that featured Colbert, his guests and a live studio audience in New York responding in real time to an outcome that neither Colbert's team, nor the majority of polls, had predicted.

Now, four years later, Colbert is returning to Showtime for yet another live, election-night special.

The Late Show host will emcee a one-hour event, kicking off at 11 p.m. ET on Nov. 3, dubbed Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020: Democracy's Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020.

The special gives Colbert a chance to react in real-time to election results as state-by-state returns come in, yet many observers have predicted that due to the high number of mail-in ballots expected this year, a winner may not be declared on Nov. 3.

Guests for Colbert's special include Charlamagne Tha God and The Circus hosts Alex Wagner, John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon.

Both Charlamagne and Heilemann appeared on Colbert's 2016 special.

Yet, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there won't be a studio audience for Colbert's special this year, with the special's announcement teasing that it would take place from Colbert's "virtual underground political bunker." Colbert has been hosting The Late Show from the Ed Sullivan theater offices since mid-August.

In a promo for the special, Colbert, sporting an American flag mask, brandishes a tape measure as he ensures he's socially distanced from other people.

"Join me on election night from six feet away," Colbert says, laughing. "Hopefully in the future, you'll have to explain to your grandchildren what that joke means. Also hopefully in the future you'll have grandchildren. Also hopefully there will be a future."

In 2016, Colbert faced the task of trying to reassure his New York City audience as they reacted with audible groans and gasps as it increasingly became clear that Trump would win the election.

Ahead of that event, Colbert and his team explained that they had prepared a few different shows, depending on what happened, but the Late Show host later indicated that he didn't prepare as much comedic material for one scenario — the one that ended up happening.

"There was not a bear big enough in the world that we weren't loaded for. We were so loaded for every possible eventuality," Colbert explained less than two weeks later at an event with John Oliver. "We had so many guests. We had so many pre-taped pieces, all based on a different eventuality. We had three shows: Hillary Clinton wins and we know; Hillary Clinton wins and we don’t know, because it’s not called before the show’s over; Donald Trump's going to win and we don’t know, because everyone said he had such a narrow path to victory. That's not wishful thinking, that's what everyone was saying. And then there was the last show, which is the show we did, which is Donald Trump is going to win and we know he's going to win. My execs and my writers were like, 'You don't want to write something for that?' and I'm like, 'No! There is nothing you can write. You don't understand. I have 400 people in my theater. If we know Donald Trump is going to win, it's going to be like doing stand-up comedy for one of those Chilean soccer stadiums where the villagers watch you execute one of the natives. There will be no laughter!' We only did about 20 minutes of material before we went, 'F— it, it's going to be him, let's just talk for another hour.' So I think we have two and a half whole shows that you will never see of material that we had to kill that night."

Colbert added that the special was "the hardest thing I've ever done in my life."

Watch the full promo for Colbert's 2020 special below.