Stephen Colbert seems like a great guy, but there's some truthiness to the idea that he's not connecting with late night audiences as much as some of his peers, especially when it comes to viral videos.
Colbert is currently covering the Republican National Convention, "The Late Show," while James Corden, who follows with "The Late Late Show," just posted another one of his viral "Carpool Karaoke" videos, this time with First Lady Michelle Obama and Missy Elliott.
Since Corden's bits -- Karaoke and beyond -- have become such a massive hit, and Colbert is still finding his way, Howard Stern felt compelled to stir the pot and ask Corden if he would be getting Colbert's time slot. Corden said it's "Never gonna happen." In a lengthy new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Colbert was asked about the idea of James Corden taking his earlier timeslot.
"That's a reasonable question for Howard to ask, I suppose, because Howard asks provocative questions," Colbert said. "I mean, any question is a reasonable question if you think it's interesting, and that's a very interesting question. But, I mean, what can I do about a question? All I can do is the best show I can." THR asked if the Corden rumors made him feel bad, and Colbert responded by looking down at his desk. After a long pause, the story reported, Colbert answered: 'The implication of that question is that the show isn't good enough in its present position. So of course that makes you feel bad. But it doesn't jibe with what I know about our show, so you recover.'"
Later, THR asked if criticism of the show bothered him, and if he cares what people write about him. Colbert responded with candor. "I'm a human being. Yeah, I care. If there's something informative, if there's some criticism that would be helpful, I'm happy to listen to it. But you know, you are the show, and so you can't not take it personally. And the only difficult thing really is I like what we do, and so I don't entirely know how to feel about negative criticism."
When he took over the "Late Show" from David Letterman, there were sky-high expectations, even if it wasn't quite clear what fans were going to get. We knew we wouldn't get his "Colbert Report" persona, but that was about it. Now he's almost in the position of being the underdog, which is where Corden had been before he ended up being a surprise hit.
Glenn Geller, president of CBS Entertainment, told THR Colbert's performance has been "uneven" but he said the show is in its early days and they have high hopes for the convention shows. And don't worry about Colbert losing his time slot to Corden. "We have no plans to flip the two shows," Geller said. "It's really easy for people to pit the shows against each other. But they're different kinds of shows, they're different kinds of hosts. One was a known quantity to America, and the other was not. I don't think it's fair to compare the two and say, 'Well, just because one show has this, why doesn't the other?'"
And Colbert does sometimes strike gold. Just yesterday he posted a video on Melania Trump's speech that has more than 3,444,800 views (thanks to Laura Benanti):
Just give audiences four more years of stuff like that, and things should be OK!
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