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Stephen Colbert has been looser, funnier and angrier with his quarantine Late Show

  • Vox

    In quarantine, Colbert's "show has become something to see most nights, even when it’s not particularly funny," says Emily VanDerWerff. "If a joke doesn’t land, it almost doesn’t matter because what’s most impressive about Colbert in quarantine is the spirit of the thing. Like many hosts, in the early stages of the pandemic, Colbert was doing his show from his home. It was fine, as these things go, but more than any other host in late-night, Colbert thrives when he has a crowd to perform to. So when he was working from home, the program could come off as a little stilted and uneven. But in early August, Late Show — now dubbed A Late Show instead of The Late Show, to reflect the sheer weirdness of the whole scenario — returned to its home base above the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York. Colbert is back filming on a facsimile of his real set, though not in his usual studio, and he’s performing for an audience that includes his most trusted producers and his family. There are whole shows where nothing works. But nobody on television is better at fumbling his way through an awkward situation than Stephen Colbert. What I like about these episodes is the way they capture the stir-crazy energy of living in quarantine after all these months. Colbert is trapped in the same building with the same small handful of people every day, and the challenge is to keep making them laugh. Without a studio audience to entertain, he’s got to entertain some of his closest friends and family — a.k.a. the people who are most sick of him at this point — and when a joke bombs, they’re only too happy to sit in stony silence. Colbert has risen to this challenge."

    TOPICS: Stephen Colbert, CBS, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Coronavirus, Late Night