Donald Trump’s Next Stop Is Colbert’s Late Show

11 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Colbert draws 6.6m audience in ‘Late Show’ debut.

An audience member heckled Travis Kalanick about Uber’s effect on the taxi industry, according to Business Insider, whose reporters witnessed the contretemps. NEW YORK – Stephen Colbert drew an audience of 6.6 million people in his long-awaited debut as host of “The Late Show” on CBS but he largely failed to bowl over TV critics with any major changes to the late-night talk show format. “The Late Show” was, as expected, the most-watched late-night TV program on Tuesday, attracting more than double the 2.9 million audience for rival Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight” show on Comcast Corp’s NBC, Nielsen data showed on Wednesday.Long before Stephen Colbert kicked off his highly touted debut on CBS this week, Broadway shows were jockeying to be the first to perform on the new “Late Show.” Colbert, a graduate of Northwestern University’s drama department, has put out the word that he wants Broadway to be part of his New York-based program. My wife and I, huge Colbert fans, were so underwhelmed that we turned to each other in resignation toward the end and sighed, “Oh, well,” or words to that effect. Their hearts sank when they heard Colbert recently caught a performance of “Hamilton.” Once again, “Hamilton” was going to steal the spotlight.

The incident, which may be edited considerably or even deleted before airing on Thursday night’s show, reflects the controversy that has dogged Uber’s extraordinary growth, particularly in New York. Still, professional critics everywhere were offering generally enthusiastic raves, so if that was fair … Colbert’s brilliant “The Colbert Report,” which aired at 10:30 p.m. James Poniewozik at the New York Times called the first show “overstuffed and messy.” But he added; “This show may not completely know what it is yet, but it knows exactly who its host is: a smart, curious, playful entertainer who’s delighted to be there.” Robert Bianco said in USA Today Colbert “seemed a bit over-caffeinated.

Monday through Thursday on the Comedy Central network, was among the shows that exposed the predictability and pretensions of standard post-prime time fare and offered something better, slyer, funnier, more relevant. Uber fought back by hiring regulatory adviser Brad Tusk, who suggested the startup shame the city — which it did, successfully, by recruiting celebrities, including Ashton Kutcher, to defend Uber by portraying the company as an innovative, job-creating icon of the new economy. I expected that he’d dispense with the opening stand-up monologue when he took over the 10:35 p.m. weeknight slot on CBS formerly occupied by David Letterman. Appearances on the late-night shows are valued not because they sell tons of tickets — they don’t — but because they “raise awareness,” says a press agent. “It lodges the title in the minds of tourists, and it can help if you’re planning a national tour.” Fallon, who moved “The Tonight Show” to New York from Los Angeles, is a big Broadway booster.

This standard element, filled with middlebrow topical japes, steered the national conversation generations ago when Johnny Carson ruled late night and viewers had only a handful of channels to choose from. At the Washington Post however, Amber Phillips said two things were clear from Colbert’s debut: “1) Colbert plans to be a major player at the nexus of pop culture and the 2016 presidential election, and 2) he’s going to take politics and its players seriously.” Colbert is best when seated at his desk, where he began his previous show, going a little deeper into the news of the day than “Hey, did you hear the story about …?” And I expected he’d begin there. The studio audience may enjoy the energy of live instrumentals, particularly during commercial breaks, but recorded intro music would be fine for those of us at home and allow more airtime for the featured entertainment. The reason was simple: the show was taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater, and Ed Sullivan always presented Broadway musicals on his legendary variety show.

But for his opening night he chose George Clooney, 54, an overexposed Hollywood idol, and John Ellis “Jeb” Bush, 62, the blandest of the Republican presidential hopefuls. A hip comic, an edgy actor or compelling activist would have been a signal that Colbert intends to elevate the banal late-night discourse to which we have either become accustomed or, in my case, that we have studiously avoided. Instead, with this and an unctuous interview Wednesday night with actress Scarlett Johansson, Colbert seemed to be trying to signal don’t worry, no pabulum shortage here — I’m neither too highbrow nor too liberal for the network TV masses. I expected his pre-taped comedy would have better production values than one of those thrown-together skits you see during the last half-hour of “Saturday Night Live,” given that he had nearly nine months to prepare.

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