Stephen Colbert became a huge star by adopting a personality radically different from his own, but since he and his fake pundit character share a name, the intertwining of the two Stephen Colberts was inevitable. Add in the high-profile public appearances he’s made in character, and it’s no wonder it can be a shock to the system when the real Colbert drops the blustery veneer, as he did last night on Late Show with David Letterman.
This wasn’t unprecedented – Colbert appeared as himself on Letterman’s show two years ago to promote his book. Understandably, neither appearance contained anything approaching the level of earnestness found in real-person Colbert interviews here and here: both Letterman sit-downs were extremely light-hearted. And give real-person Colbert credit: they were pretty entertaining as well, which begs the question: which version of Colbert is better in interviews?
(Also: Colbert’s admiration of Letterman seems to rival Jon Stewart’s. Colbert said last night it “makes [him] feel important” if he tells himself he does the same thing for a living that Dave does. Meanwhile, a couple months ago in this Daily Show interview with LeBron James, when James referred to God as “the man above,” Stewart guessed he was talking about Letterman. This is also a great excuse to link to this Late Show appearance by a now-shockingly-young-looking Stewart.)
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