He’s an American comedian who already has inspired an ice cream flavor and has a spider named after him. But Stephen Colbert hits the big time Tuesday when he formally succeeds David Letterman at “The Late Show.”
The 51-year-old Colbert will shed the ultra-conservative, alter ego news-cast character that popularized him at Comedy Central and step into the shoes of one of America’s biggest television legends, Letterman, who retired this summer after a 33-year career.
His first guests are Hollywood hunk George Clooney and flagging Republican White House contender Jeb Bush, a signal of perhaps a focus on political comedy as the nation navigates the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Colbert joins a fiercely competitive market, where America’s beloved world of late-night television is vastly different from the golden age dominated by the likes of Letterman, Jay Leno and Johnny Carson.
He will have to hold his own against the Jimmys: Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s “Tonight Show” and Jimmy Kimmel on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”