For Stephen Colbert, Chicago Roots Run Deep

10 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Stephen Colbert Opens Up About His Devout Christian Faith, Islam, Pope Francis, and More.

After Stephen Colbert came twirling onto his new stage for the first episode of “The Late Show” on Tuesday, he thanked his adoring crowd, then looked straight up to the ceiling of the Ed Sullivan Theater. “Tonight is the first time anyone has seen a renovated Ed Sullivan Theater, and look at that incredible dome up there, look at that,” Mr.In a surprisingly candid interview, the newly minted ‘Late Show’ host discussed the role his faith plays in his comedy, Charlie Hebdo, and what he’d ask Pope Francis.

Stephen Colbert’s Tuesday night Late Show debut pulled in strong ratings that more than doubled those of his closest competitor, setting the comedian up for a promising future in late night television. Colbert said early in the show, as a camera swept upward to reveal the domed ceiling, with the CBS eye logo and the new host’s face playfully displayed in kaleidoscopic rings. “That is all digital projection.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s inaugural episode, which featured guests Jeb Bush and George Clooney, averaged 6.55 million viewers — more than double the ratings of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (2.92 million) and nearly triple those of Jimmy Kimmel Live! (1.75 million). But Colbert’s audience was small compared to the 11.3 million who tuned in to watch Fallon’s debut as host of the ‘Tonight’ show in February last year.

I wanted to have Michelangelo paint it, but it turns out Ninja Turtles aren’t real.” The images were a projection, but that dome, and the chandelier within it, were very real. The Hollywood Reporter also notes that Colbert’s impressive first-night ratings came without any special lead-in — Fallon’s first episode experienced a ratings surge thanks to a lead-in from the Winter Olympics. Colbert also a boost of up to 200 per cent in the number of viewers under 34 compared to last year’s season premiere of ‘The Late Show’ when David Letterman was behind the desk.

The extensive exclusive interview, which is at times hysterically funny and profoundly serious, airs in full on Rosica’s interview program Witness on September 13. However, despite bringing in the big guns with George Clooney and Jeb Bush as his first guests, the hyperactive comedian largely failed to bowl over TV critics with any major changes to the late-night talk show format. The dome, along with restored stained glass on the perimeter of the theater, allows the evocative fixtures of an old Broadway show house to merge with the modern accouterments that were added for Mr. 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.’ Variety’s Brian Lowry said that ‘if the goal was to establish the CBS show as fun-loving (a silly bit with George Clooney) yet potentially topical (an interview with Jeb Bush), as another Bush family member might say, ‘Mission accomplished’.’ ‘Tuesday night’s debut, so highly anticipated, so long in the making, came off as yet another frantic yet fundamentally formulaic iteration of your grandparents’ late-night talk show,’ wrote The Tribune’s Eric Zorn.

Rosica told The Daily Beast that Colbert’s interview shows that a modern Catholic is someone who is fundamentally with joy, with truth, and with a sense of history. “When we church people talk about Hollywood and the media, we often talk in disparaging terms,” he says. “But there are some outstanding people who are strong in faith. It gives us pause that we often write off people because of their fame.” In the interview, Colbert does poke fun at the Church, invoking his favorite saints “Arugula” and “Grappa,” but Rosica says that’s OK. “If we love something we can make fun of it,” he says. “We need to see the divine sense of humor in some things.” During the 45-minute interview, a white-bearded Colbert opened up about the difficulty performing, especially in character. “That sense of connection between the performer and the audience is the entire intention,” he said. “What does anybody want? Colbert has retired the blowhard political pundit character he portrayed on ‘The Colbert Report’, bringing the real-life version of himself to television’s most-watched network. Not to be alone, and I think when a performer gets onstage and says the things that are in his mind, in his own particular way, [it is] to make a connection with an audience so he doesn’t feel so alone.” “If the 15th Century Christians might have been offended to the point of violence, at blaspheme. But the host did bring some of the aspects of his previous show with him in his opening episode, including his lampooning of political personalities such as presidential candidate Donald Trump.

His monologue, parts of which he performed sitting down, ripped into Trump and his often mocked policy of building a wall at the US-Mexico border and his pledge to quit eating Oreos. But he was clearly proud of his new home, which took CBS three and a half months to build, at considerable expense: The renovation cost the network about $18 million, according to a television executive with knowledge of the budget, who was not authorized to speak publicly. So, in an ultimate sense, I do not perceive [the Charlie Hebdo massacre] is indicative of Islam…” Colbert told Rosica that hopefully the audience feels the same way. “That’s got to be the goal, that connection has got to be the goal, and the making somebody laugh has got to be the goal,” he said. “You can’t think that your satire is going to change things.” When Rosica asked him about making fun of the Church, Colbert said he wouldn’t stop just because he has a bigger platform. “I mean I’ll still make jokes about the Church, I’ll make jokes about anything…as long as you’re not being malicious, I don’t think you can leave anything off the table,” Colbert told Rosica, but he would stop short of making jokes about the sacraments. “It wouldn’t feel right for me, it wouldn’t feel good for me, it wouldn’t be obeying my own conscience, I suppose, to make jokes about the sacraments, or specifically the Eucharist…a nacho cheese Eucharist joke… not. Colbert’s former boss at The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, appeared in the show’s beginning moments, a singing of the national anthem in various parts of the United States.

Colbert went on his first proper tour of the studio and spent about four hours walking through the space, said Richard Hart, a CBS executive who accompanied him. Colbert got excited about its long history and intrigued by what he couldn’t see up above him. “We really couldn’t see the dome, it was covered up with so much stuff,” said Richard Solomon, the director of operations at the theater. “But what we could see were these bits and pieces, including the chandelier. And I have no doubt that he’s far from a perfect man, but he gives me hope that the message of joy that he wants to spread right now can be seen as not revolutionary, but a manifestation of something that was always there.”

Indeed, this theater has seen it all: operettas, Broadway musicals, nightclub acts, radio shows, a variety television show, telethons, game shows, commercials, a sitcom and late-night shows. The theater, on Broadway just off 53rd Street, was built 88 years ago by Arthur Hammerstein to honor his father, the theater impresario Oscar Hammerstein I. Then an array of entertainment programs cycled in and out: game shows, a telethon hosted by Sammy Davis Jr. and the CBS sitcom “Kate and Allie.” Over the years, though, the theater fell into disrepair. “It was a very tired building,” said Nicholas van Hoogstraten, author of the book “Lost Broadway Theatres.” “There were legendary rats running through the basement.” When Mr. Letterman signed on with CBS in 1993, he had a decision to make: To do the show in Los Angeles or at the CBS Broadcast Center at 57th Street, off 11th Avenue, home to the “CBS Evening News” and “60 Minutes.” Neither appealed to him. “On 11th Avenue over there, you’re almost in New Jersey,” Mr. Favale said. “It’s a dark block and a weird block because there are these buildings around it,” he said. “When you walk by here, we almost wanted to feel like you’re in heaven, and you’re hitting a wave of light that says, ‘Come in, come in.’ ” And though Mr.

Colbert has refused to fuel any enmity with other late-night hosts — Jimmy Fallon of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” appeared in two brief taped cameos on the first show — that doesn’t mean that CBS executives are above taking a shot or two at the competition and its home turf.

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