“One thing before we get started,” Stephen Colbert said at the beginning of Thursday’s Colbert Report. “There was some big news last week that slipped through my news-crack. It concerned someone I’ve admired for years, and yet, surprisingly, is not me.”
Colbert was speaking, of course, about David Letterman — who revealed on April 3 that he’s leaving CBS’s Late Show in 2015. Just one week later, word broke that his desk will be inherited by none other than Colbert himself. (By which I mean the actual Stephen Colbert — not the character he’s been playing on the Report since 2005.)
“Dave has been on the air my entire adult life,” Colbert continued. “Late Night debuted my first night in college. I learned more from watching Dave than I did from going to my classes, especially the ones I did not go to because I had stayed up till 1:30 watching Dave.
“This man has influenced every host who came after him, and even a few who came before him. He’s that good.” Then, the kicker: “And I’ve gotta tell you, I do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair.”
The audience roared — and started chanting Stephen’s name. But Colbert didn’t let the moment get away from him: “Those are some huge shoes to fill,” he added. “And some really big pants.”
That’s when Colbert threw to another camera — and started talking about something else entirely. The show must go on, right?