Outpouring of comic love on Twitter
Today’s announcement that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as host of The Late Show in 2015 was not really that big a surprise. Ever since Letterman announced his impending retirement last week, Colbert has been the agreed-upon frontrunner. But the quickness of the deal certainly was a shocker.
That no one else, it seems, was seriously considered for the job shows how controversy-free the choice was, as Colbert will take over for Letterman with the apparent full approval of the comedy community. Just yesterday, his friend and mentor Jon Stewart, himself once mentioned as a top candidate, took himself out of the running to endorse Colbert (although it now seems likely that Stewart knew about Colbert’s impending deal).
Stewart told Vulture that Colbert would be “amazing” as Letterman’s replacement, talking up his skills as a writer, actor, interviewer and improviser. “He’s wonderful in The Colbert Report, but he’s got gears he hasn’t even shown people yet,” said Stewart. “He would be remarkable.”
Stewart is far from alone in the comedy world in believing that Colbert will crush this opportunity, as many took to Twitter to offer congratulations and express their delight. Colbert’s soon-to-be competitor, Jimmy Fallon, showing how much less bitter the late night landscape is these days, tweeted:
It was a reference to their third network competitor at 11:30, Jimmy Kimmel, who himself tweeted:
Others in the comedy world sent simple messages of congratulations, including:
Fact: My favorite comedian is Stephen Colbert. I want to grow up and be him. Great thinker/humorist/entertainer of our time.—
Noël Wells (@RealTomHankz) April 10, 2014
Meanwhile, some used the occasion to take comedic pot shots at others:
Funny Or Die
Congrats to Stephen Colbert on The Late Show gig! Guess making fun of Bill O'Reilly leads to more success than actually being Bill O'Reilly.—
Funny Or Die (@funnyordie) April 10, 2014
Steve Martin, of course, just wanted to get paid.
Will Colbert start paying back the money that Letterman owes me?—
Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) April 11, 2014
Others expressed mixed feelings: delight at the prospect of the new show, but despair at the loss of the brilliant comedic character that made Colbert a star.
Paul F. Tompkins
I am simultaneously devastated that the Colbert Report will end & excited beyond repair at what Colbert & team will do with The Late Show.—
Paul F. Tompkins (@PFTompkins) April 10, 2014
Michael Ian Black
Congratulations to Stephen Colbert the person and condolences to Stephen Colbert the character.—
Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) April 10, 2014
Some comedians took the chance to reflect on what the news means for them:
Rob Delaney, who for some reason deleted his post, wrote:
@StephenAtHome I’m flattered but network will prob want you to have Hanks/Jolie/etc as first guest. Happy to come on the 1st week though?
Delaney followed that with a playful jab at Letterman’s sidekick.
Equally excited with CBS’s decision to replace Paul Shaffer with Slayer.—
rob delaney (@robdelaney) April 10, 2014
Maybe I don't know how show business works, but… uh, Stephen Colbert is replacing Letterman, that means I'm not?—
Todd Barry (@toddbarry) April 10, 2014
Not to steal any thunder but I will be naming a replacement for me in spring of 2016.—
Ted Alexandro (@tedalexandro) April 10, 2014
Unsurprisingly, some took the chance to gloat about the timing regarding the recent #CancelColbert campaign, and the activist who launched it, Suey Park. While The Colbert Report will now end next year, this is clearly not what they had in mind.
"This is not what I meant by "cancel." Yes I'll hold." – Suey Park on phone with CBS customer support—
Kate Hendricks (@katethewasp) April 10, 2014
Andy Daly (host of Comedy Central’s Review)
One Family Guy writer saw fit to point out the ridiculousness of our obsession with late night.
Wow, Colbert replacing Letterman. Who's replacing Fallon? And Kimmel? And who will replace them? Oh my God, we're all gonna die someday!—
Julius Sharpe (@juliussharpe) April 10, 2014
Perhaps the most meaningful tweet, though, came from the man that Colbert will be replacing.