For 10 years, Stephen Colbert pulled no punches as his Colbert Report alter ego, but the talk show host has struggled to find his footing after taking over for David Letterman on The Late Show last fall.
Now, the actor and comedian facing down speculation that rising star James Corden might be a better man for the job.
“It hurts,” Colbert tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m a human being. Yeah, I care.”
He continues, “The implication of that question is that the show isn’t good enough in its present position. So of course that makes you feel bad. But it doesn’t jibe with what I know about our show, so you recover.”
Network execs admit to THR that Colbert’s performance has been “uneven,” and the Daily Show alum himself admits that the shift from the Report to late night has been a bumpy one.
“It was like going from go-kart to NASCAR in terms of the speed at which everything had to happen,” Colbert says. “I didn’t really have much fun in the late fall.”
It was then that Colbert realized he had to make a change in order for the show – and his health – to survive: “I went, ‘Okay, well, I like what I do, but I think that the pace of it might kill me unless I can find a way to regulate the way I’m throwing myself at it.’ ”
Of the surprisingly subdued interview, Colbert recalls Trump “didn’t say anything crazy, he was the soul of reason. So I found him to be dull, if anything. As soon as the interview was over, I went, ‘Oh, f— me, why didn’t I call him low energy?’ That would’ve really riled him up.”
But the host is taking it all in stride and looking ahead: “All I can do is the best show I can.”
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights (11:35 p.m. ET) on CBS.