On the second night of Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show,” he regaled the audience with a fun story about how the first episode almost didn’t make it on the air Tuesday. Apparently there were major technical difficulties on the CBS computers — not ideal in any situation, but especially bad considering how much the network had hyped his debut.
“After CBS had plastered my face on nearly every flat surface on the planet … after all that, maybe we wouldn’t go on the air,” Colbert told the crowd, detailing his panic attack. During the process, he thought “If we actually make it to air, this will be a pretty good story. And if we don’t, it’ll still be a very interesting story at the theater camp I will be running in Idaho.”
Luckily everything worked out, so Colbert made it all the way to a second show. And then things got weird.
Colbert established introduced a new segment that should be called “Big Furry Hat.” This features Colbert wearing a big furry hat as he establishes social guidelines for our world. His reasoning is that late-night hosts are the leaders of our time, so they should set the rules. Among society’s new laws: “On a really hot day, anyone who says ‘hot enough for you?’ to another person will immediately be set on fire. Those who are playing guitars in music instrument stores shall cease playing guitars in music instrument stores. If you have more than one Oscar, you must give me one Oscar.” Have a problem with that? Too bad. “THE HAT HAS SPOKEN.”
He moved on to interview Scarlett Johansson, who mentioned multiple times she flew all the way from Paris to do the interview. The A-list actress seemed thrown by Colbert’s frenetic questioning style — she chided him to stop interrupting her — but then they settled in. Colbert followed up by another segment called “Big Questions With Even Bigger Stars.”
Cut to Colbert and Johansson laying side by side on a blanket in the grass, gazing up at the sky and asking each other deep and meaningful questions. Sample query from Colbert: “Would you rather have feet for hands or hands for feet?” (Johansson chose hands for feet.) Then from Johansson: “What do you think Oprah is doing right now?” (Colbert: “She’s probably talking to Gayle in a secret language.”) They also shared what they hoped would happen to their bodies when they die. Johansson prefers to be dumped in the Hudson River; Colbert would like to be whipped into a soufflé and served to his enemies.
Later, SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk faced similar odd questioning by Colbert, who demanded to know if the billionaire is really trying to improve our world or if he’s actually a super-villain. Musk insisted that he’s not a super-villain, but Colbert didn’t seem so sure. The two chatted about space and sustainable energy and Colbert managed to offend him twice, once by calling him “one of the CEOs of SpaceX” (he’s the CEO, okay?) and again by saying one of his rockets landed on a barge at sea (it’s a ship, thank you very much).
“Everything I say seems to be insulting you,” Colbert joked, as Musk looked a bit alarmed. However, that’s a look Colbert should probably get used to. Although his interview style of “questions that could be serious, but then again could also be jokes” is so far pretty entertaining for the audience — though celebrities aren’t too sure what to make of it.