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Stephen Colbert‘s first Late Show was full of surprises, memorable moments — and so much footage he and his team couldn’t fit it into the show’s hourlong broadcast, posting bonus clips online the next morning.
But, as the Late Show host explained on Wednesday night, his highly anticipated premiere almost didn’t make it on the air at all.
Colbert opened his second show by triumphantly announcing his Late Show “made it to day two!” He joked that that’s when his “health insurance kicks in — and I almost needed a heart transplant last night.”
With that, Colbert explained how an unknown tech issue almost prevented his premiere episode from airing.
Noting how the taping ran long, he explained that it took him and his team a while to cut it down to the right amount of time.
“And then when we tried to send it to the network so they could show it to you on air, the computers kept crashing,” he said. “At 11:20, no one in the building could give me a guarantee for certain that the show was going to go on the air last night. So you can imagine how exciting that was for all of us.”
But he realized, as he was panicking, that the stressful incident might make for a good story later.
“As I felt the oxygen begin to drain from my brain and all my organs shutting down, I thought, ‘If we actually make it to air, this’ll be a pretty good story,’ ” he said. “And if we don’t, it will still be a very interesting story at the theater camp I will be running in Idaho.”
Colbert added that he still doesn’t know what the problem was, but he told viewers watching Wednesday night’s show on CBS, “If you’re seeing this at home right now, it means we fixed it.”
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