Parts of the interview were wonderfully uncomfortable, hearkening back to Colbert’s previous late-night show. The interview also gave viewers a glimpse of Noah’s approach to presidential election coverage as he assumed the host chair on a late-night show that, under Stewart, became an important voice in that political cycle.
“Congratulations man,” Colbert began. “How are you feeling? I mean, stepping into the seat of a legend of talk shows – that’s crazy! Who on earth would ever want to do that? That’s a buzz saw – get out of there!
The audience laughed, immediately getting Colbert’s reference to himself, taking over Late Show from David Letterman.
Noah did not acknowledge the reference. Or, perhaps he did not get it:
“Every day I go, ‘What have I done?’ You can’t live up to Jon Stewart. It’s insane,” he responded.
“I think Jon Stewart would disagree. Because Jon Stewart thought you were the right guy for the job,” responded Colbert, who has worked with Stewart since Noah was about 13 years old. He asked Noah what advice Stewart had given him.
Describing Stewart as “like a Jewish Yoda,” Noah said the comic who hosted The Daily Show 16 years advised him to “trust your discomfort. If you feel uncomfortable, that’s the way you should be going.”
“Really? So, you think maybe this joke is a little too edgy – go ahead and go that way? As if you’re approaching an intersection, you’re going very fast, and the light goes from green to yellow – gun it to get under the light before it turns red?”
“No,” Noah said, asking if Colbert has children and do they watch his show.
“I don’t allow my children to watch the show,” Colbert responded.
“He just said, ‘Go into it,’ and that’s what The Daily Show is about. That’s what comedy is about,” Noah explained to Colbert.
“You do that all the time,” Noah added.
“No,” Colbert responded.
Talk turned to CNN’s GOP debate, which Noah said he “unfortunately did” watch, calling it a “moment of regret” that he spent the three hours doing so, because “no one said anything.”
He asked Colbert to set him up to demonstrate, with a Jake Tapper-esque question for a GOP candidate. Colbert asked whether he thought the country needed a wall along its southern border. Noah responded: