Stephen Colbert has already displayed his ability to bring in power-hitters to grace the The Late Show stage. Proving that he will continue to reach beyond Hollywood, mixing politics and culture into his comedy, his first guests will include George Clooney and Jeb Bush on the show’s September 8 premiere. On his personal Twitter account Colbert joked:
Indeed a promotional tweet from Mitt Romney indicates he may also be making an appearance soon.
The debut show will also introduce the new Late Show band, Stay Human, led by Jon Batiste. Batiste is a Julliard trained musician from Louisiana and is strongly interested in music education. During a tour in Holland he conducted workshops and classes for underprivileged neighborhoods. He was included on ARTINFO’s list of “30 Under 30” in 2012 and currently serves at the Associate Artistic Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Stay Human performed on The Colbert Report in 2014.
On September 9 Colbert will welcome Scarlett Johansson, Elon Musk (founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors), and musical guest Kendrick Lamar. Toby Keith and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will guest on September 10, and the September 11 show will feature Amy Schumer, Stephen King, and Paul Simon tribute band Troubled Waters.
Though Colbert retired his on-screen Colbert Report persona when that show ended he’s brought much of the staff of the former show over to his new digs at CBS. Tom Purcell will continue as executive producer and writer, sharing the EP role with Meredith Bennett. Co-executive producers include Report alumni Emily Lazar and Barry Julie, and Jay Katsir has been promoted to head writer. Supervising producer Opus Moreschi, and writers Matt Lappin and Paul Dinello have also followed Colbert to CBS.
That doesn’t mean the show will retread the Colbert Report’s old ground however. All summer Stephen has been active on social media promoting his comic and deeply intelligent personal persona with videos, tweets, and feature articles. He even stepped in as for an unpublicized guest hosting spot on local public-access Only in Monroe, from Monroe, Michigan to break through the “first show” hype. “There’s going to be 202 (shows) this year—how do you do a first one?” he told GQ. “So I just wanted to go do a show someplace. And now we’ve done it.” The episode spawned a viral video of an awkward interview with Eminem in the local show’s studio, complete with office furniture and fake plants. Colbert put on the character of a local Yelp reviewer and the overall effect is something straight out of an SNL skit.
In his GQ interview Colbert also said he has no regrets about moving on. “I no longer felt that that model served to address the national mood,” he said. Ten years ago, the country was palpably more afraid and angry. “We’re in a different place now.”