No specifics have yet been added but if Stephen Colbert takes over Letterman as a straight shooter – that is, someone who makes the occasional political joke then gives giant blow jobs to studios for promotion’s sake – what a shame, what a loss. To me, Colbert is the only sane voice on the airwaves and he does this through 100% satire. What is not known is whether he will take over as his TV persona or as himself.
Sure, you can’t punish someone’s successful rise by hoping they stay exactly where they are. This is his life, after all. He doesn’t owe us anything. But here’s the thing: he does good work. That matters. But if he is to drop the Colbert persona he’s cultivated so carefully and beautifully for years it will be a wash. To this fan anyway.
It’s such a smart show. Who else but Colbert could have, or would have had such a vibrant, memorable interview with Jane Goodall? His entire career has been made on his persona. He is not audience-tested otherwise, which makes me think he will have to continue as his fake persona — perhaps a tiny bit of both. Here’s hoping.