Stephen Colbert

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Forget A's identity on Pretty Little Liars and that hatch on Lost; TV has a new great mystery: What will Stephen Colbert's Late Show be like?

It seems like a silly question, because on one hand, it's just a late night show. There will be celebrity (and CEO, and political) guests, there will be musical guests, and there will surely be jokes. But at the same time, all signs point to an entirely new late night show, with a host we all know so well and yet don't know at all.

We've known one version of Stephen Colbert for the past 10 years as an ultra-conservative, ultra-religious extremist occasional nutcase who was at once very serious about being all of those things and also not any of those things at all. He was an enigma, and he remains an enigma to the point where not even the man behind the curtain, whose name is also Stephen Colbert, can really say for sure who Stephen Colbert is.

As he said during CBS' summer press tour, the show will be like "an act of discovery" for him as well as his audience. That's just fine with us, but that doesn't mean there aren't a few things we're hoping to see on this new (and improved?) Late Show, with Colbert at the helm.



Bring on the weird: Colbert has already proven, just through promos released this summer (and through interviewing Eminem on a Michigan cable access show), that he's good at weird, and we just hope he fully embraces that. David Letterman was great at weird, and Colbert can get even stranger. We almost don't even want to see him sitting at a desk. Can he conduct interviews from his bathtub? Can he recreate the red room scene from Twin Peaks? We'll take basically anything that gets us away from a desk on a stage.  

Politics aplenty: We're at a crucial time in our lives where we are now being forced to navigate the 2016 election without Jon Stewart or the character formerly known as Stephen Colbert, so the new Colbert, whoever he is, had better still be willing to throw down some serious jokes (and insight) on all sides of the political ring, even if it's just to keep us alive through next November. 

No more games: All of the other late night shows force celebs to play ridiculous and hilarious games, but we kind of hope this one does not. Don't get us wrong—we love watching Demi Lovato play Charades (seriously, we love it), but there are plenty of other shows (and hosts) for that.

Stephen Colbert, TIME

Platon for TIME

Narcissism: We just can't fathom watching a show starring Stephen Colbert that doesn't remind us that it's all about Stephen Colbert at every opportunity. Are we going to have to get used to the audience clapping for the guests instead of Stephen? We actually might not be able to handle it.

Feminism That said, we're also intrigued they idea of Colbert making it all about the ladies. In his fantastically hilarious essay for Glamour, he promised to make a show that truly respects women. He also joked about his own femininity, but we hope it was less of a joke and more of an indication that Colbert is going to use his late night show to put a whole new forward-thinking spin on what it means to be a man with a talk show.   

Just based on what we've seen so far, we'd be shocked and a little disappointed if The Late Show with Stephen Colbert turns out to be just another guy behind a desk telling jokes. However, even if it is, that guy is still Stephen Colbert, and we're still incredibly excited to get to know him. Again.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert debuts tonight at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.

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