Stephen Colbert dishes on his new ‘Late Show’ persona
Hosting a late-night talk show will be a lot like competing on TV’s “Chopped,” Stephen Colbert says — complete with baffling ingredients and a lot of pressure.
“Your guests tonight are the veal tongue, coffee grounds and gummy bears,” he jokes in an interview with GQ magazine, likening late shows to the Food Network’s popular cooking contest.
“Make an appetizer that appeals to millions of people . . . That’s what every day is like at one of these shows.”
The September GQ features Colbert on its cover and cruising Midtown on a Citi Bike. The interview offers a hint at how the comedian will run “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” when it debuts Sept. 8.
He appears to be diverging wildly from the blowhard conservative character he adopted for “The Colbert Report.”
Instead, he’s trying a new persona: earnest naif.
Part of the preparations for the new show have involved Colbert secretly hosting “Only in Monroe,” a public-access TV show in Detroit.
On the show, he interviews Eminem as if he had never heard of him, resulting in hilarity — and some anger on the part of the rap megastar.
Eminem is “a local Michigander who is making a name for himself in the competitive world of music,” Colbert says.
“I’m so confused right now,” the rapper says at one point, as Colbert clings to his aggressively ignorant character.
“I’d like to apologize,” GQ quotes Colbert as saying, “if you’re a bigger deal than I know about.”
To which Eminem replies, “Are you serious right now?”
Whatever persona Colbert settles on, he seems liberated to do what he really wants to do, the magazine says.
“I just want to do things that scratch an itch for me,” he says. “That itch is often something that feels wrong. It’s wrong because it breaks convention or is unexpected or at times uncomfortable. I like that feeling.”