Is it all in the host?
I have had no problem accepting The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. On the other hand, I continue to struggle with The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
Colbert has taken Letterman’s show and made it his own. The new Late Show seems almost like a rebirth of The Colbert Report, of which I was a big fan.
Sure, the new show has differences. Stephen makes an entrance, dances with his band leader and delivers the traditional standing monologue to open the show. Once he gets behind the desk, however, the show is virtually indistinguishable from The Colbert Report.
Another difference is the double length. Instead of one short interview in the last 15 minutes of the show, Stephen now typically does a pair of interviews in the last half-hour. If one or both of the guests doesn’t particularly interest me, I always have the fast-forward button option.
I’m sure that part of my acceptance of the new Late Show is that I rarely watched Letterman after the first few years. I can’t be uncomfortable about changes in the show when I’m unfamiliar with the old format.
I do pity poor Stephen in one respect. As host of the Colbert Report, he was working a grueling four-day week totaling about 80 on-air minutes. Now, he’s working five days a week and logging about 200 minutes in front of the camera. That’s a workload increase of approximately 250 percent. I hope he can handle the strain.
Going back to my issues with new The Daily Show, it must simply come down to the host, because the show format is pretty much the same. I always felt that Jon Stewart was speaking from the heart, whereas Noah seems more like an act, a sit-down version of a stand-up comedy routine.
I suspect that I would have absolutely no difficulty in accepting Stewart as the new host of The Tonight Show. Sorry, Jimmy.