“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to The Late Show, I’m Stephen Colbert.” Those are words that the comedian and broadcaster hasn’t said for well over year.
Colbert was back in the Ed Sullivan Theater with around 400 fully vaccinated audience members and it was pretty raucous.
After a cold open gag about wearing pants and a big hug with his band leader Jon Batiste, Colbert said “it’s great to be back”. “We never really left but we weren’t really here,” he added, highlighting that he’s spent 460 days out of the studio.
“I don’t even know how to pander to the most beautiful crowd in the world. It feels like the first day back at school. I’m excited, nervous and CBS sent me a Paramount+ trapper keeper.”
He pointed out that The Late Show was the first show back on Broadway. “Suck it Lion King.”
“It’s wonderful to see New York City coming back to life. You feel it. I saw two Time Square Elmos breeding.”
Colbert also talked about working closely with Governor Andrew Cuomo to get a crowd back into the studio. He pulled out a “note” from Cuomo. “If you remember me for one thing this year, let it be bringing back The Late Show audience, that’s it,” Colbert laughed.
The former host of The Colbert Report ended his monologue by bringing his wife Evelyn McGhee-Colbert on stage and thanking her for being his audience during the pandemic. “He’s all yours,” she said. “Don’t forget to laugh.”
After the break, Colbert said that he had hoped that President Joe Biden would be his first guest back in the Ed Sullivan Theater but that the G7 trip put an end to this. Instead, Dana Carvey brought back his Biden impression during a sketch. “I appreciate you, Merv,” Carvey’s Biden joked.
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) June 15, 2021