Stephen Colbert had a bumpy road taking over the Late Show from David Letterman, but Colbert’s unique blend of smart and ludicrous has found its audience and its stride. CBS reports that Colbert’s Late Show audience is up 31 percent season-to-date over last season. For the week ending February 2 Colbert posted a strong 3.23 million viewers according to the network, putting the Late Show ahead of all competitors. Those statistics weren’t due to one giant program event either — say an Obama or Beyonce appearance. Colbert’s audience topped 3 million each night.
Colbert’s style just seems to suit the times, much as he suited the George W. Bush era as his Comedy Central alter ego. The genial, whip-smart host blends the serious with the absurd better than anyone outside of congress and his guest list demonstrates his willingness to address timely issues. The aforementioned week ending February 2 saw Colbert talk with Rose McGowan, a major party in the Harvey Weinstein comeuppance, Meghan McCain, whose father Sen. John McCain is battling aggressive cancer, Uma Thurman, another major party in the Weinstein issue and all it has spawned, and Sen. Rand Paul, who recently got his ass kicked in his own home by his neighbor. These conversations aren’t exactly lighthearted, but Colbert conducts them with aplomb and still brings the funny. Colbert expertly mines hypocrisy and the absurd for his humor — and the world keeps playing right into his hands.