September 17, 2021

Watching Stephen Colbert back in the studio feels like a triumphant return

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It’s been 460 days since Stephen Colbert last delivered a late night show monologue in the studio to a live audience. As of Monday night, he’s back.

Although it’s been an absolutely terrible year, many of us have found refuge tuning into A Late Show (temporarily renamed during the pandemic) featuring Colbert in a repurposed storage room with only a skeleton crew and Colbert’s wife, Evie, as an ever-supportive audience. 

On March 13, 2020, Colbert delivered an eerie monologue to an empty studio (seriously watch it), then proceeded to do the show from home from March 16 like many other late night show hosts amid the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

Eventually moving into a more established (though still tiny) set, Colbert covered everything from COVID-19 to the 2020 election and the NBA walkouts without a full audience. He notably compared lockdown hair with Jon Stewart, and even broadcasted from his bathtub once. Of course, his dog, Benny, made glorious cameos.

But those days are hopefully over, with Colbert making his live studio return to THE Late Show on stage at the Ed Sullivan Theatre in front of a (notably fully-vaccinated) audience. The show pulled out all the stops, with dancers dressed up as vaccines, tributes to his staff, performances from Jon Batiste, and a big round of applause for Evie Colbert. 

Just watching Colbert deliver his monologue to a huge crowd is a pure delight, signalling somewhat of a return to life as we knew it. And he couldn’t have done it without his pants.

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