Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert review

I'll have to admit that I wasn't that enthusiastic about Stephen Colbert leaving his Comedy Central show to host CBS' The Late Show. Colbert was absolutely brilliant playing a conservative pundit and showing the world the crazy right-wing views of conservatism. And he did it with hilarious comedy. I expected him to play The Late Show safe and appeal to middle America. Well, after watching the first show, I'll have to say I was partly right.

Colbert started the show with a video of him singing the national anthem with common citizens. I couldn't figure out whether this was comedy or whether he was trying to be patriotic. That could be a problem. I mean one time during the song, he's throwing a strike at a bowling alley or being drowned out by the machinery at an auto plant. Rosanne Barr it was not, but nothing controversial. If he's restrained here as it was, it feels as if Colbert won't push the envelope like he did with his old show on Comedy Central, The Colbert Report.

When he did push the envelope, it was with an obtuse piece about a deal with a pagan symbol, The Red Amulet. The skit had Colbert admit he made a deal with it for success on the show. It forced him to promote a sponsor which was a humus product. I'm guessing this is a metaphor that Colbert would have to sacrifice some of his artistry for commercial purposes. Too strange to be funny.

I do like the choice of New Orleans jazz musician Jon Batiste and his band Stay Human. The music is funky jazz fusion. And while we know pop music will be on the show, let's hope Colbert injects more mainstream jazz. Colbert is a patron of the arts and jazz is America's indigenous art form.

Colbert finally does hit his stride on the topic of conservative Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The Donald is a gift from the comedic gods. Colbert discusses Trump's swearing off of Oreo cookies. Colbert eats one and says he will only do one joke about it. But he can't eat just one Oreo nor can he do one joke about Trump. This is Colbert at his best. Saying something about the world and making fun of the craziness in it.

Then there were the guests. Actor George Clooney is fine. The faux movie he was promoting was cute. But somebody thought a politician might be a good idea. I'm sorry Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is boring. And Colbert dominated the conversation. When Colbert got Jeb to question the differences between him and his older presidential brother George W, Jeb said George spent too much money. But Colbert failed to follow up with why that was so. It's called "The Iraq War", Stephen. Next time, have more comedians as guests.

It was a lukewarm beginning for the new Late Show. Colbert should stick to what he does best. Sorry, conservatives. That means making fun of the right because they're hilarious. And not be so concerned with middle America as to dictate choices for the show. The grade is B.

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