The first difference between The Daily Show and Colbert is that you don’t see a huge line outside. Even the line that wraps around the back isn’t as large as TDS.
The security staff are nicer and you get brought in earlier, with clips of old Colbert playing in the waiting pen. When I was there, we were delayed for a while, because rehearsal went on longer than usual.
Finally going in, the audience is only on the front, as opposed to front and one side at The Daily Show. The set looks pretty much like it does on TV, which is rare for a TV show, as the sets usually look a lot smaller in person.
This time, I didn’t know who the warmup guy was. His big catch phrase was that various people were ‘adorable’. Standard warmup fare, with the exception that it went on forever. It was clear that they weren’t ready to start the show and the guy just had to drag on. He kept saying “What else?” to himself. I remarked to the woman next to me that I could picture the movie of this, where it keeps fading, with the clock changing positions and we finally hear him asking “Is there anyone in the audience I haven’t talked to yet?”
Right before I was about to lose my mind, Colbert was introduced to the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme. He came out in usual fashion, waving, running around and such.
I’d heard before that he always uses the same line, wherein he asks the audience to ask him questions to humanize him before he becomes the character and says terrible things.
I got to ask my question that I already asked at The Daily Show, namely “What are the funniest words in the English language?” I prefaced it by saying that I had been at The Daily Show the day before and asked Jon Stewart the same question.
Colbert said, “You come into my house with his stink on you?” Which was doubly funny, as I was wearing the same clothes from the day before.
Without much of a pause, Colbert said, “abortion, obviously, as I make a lot of jokes about it.” And then, guacamole, which he incorporated into the beginning of the show. Instead of turning the question back on me, as Stewart did, he asked if anyone else had one.
He responded to some more serious questions, such as how one could best go from finance to comedy (recommended UCB classes), if the uptick in partisan bickering upset him (to which he asked when that wasn’t there and then slowly tore the woman who asked apart when she said “late 80’s”, which he countered with “the Reagan years?” and then she had to keep going back, eventually to the 1960’s, to which he said “ah, that part of the late 80’s”).
Before the show, Colbert started shooting Wriststrong bracelets at the crowd. I immediately waved for one. He shot it toward me and I lost it in the lights. It ended up in my lap. I was equally excited to get one and to have witnessed such impressive aim.
Colbert was always ‘on’. They never redid Stewart’s makeup before the show, but they came out to make sure Colbert was a-OK. While his hair woman was fixing him, he looked at her mock-longingly and mimed doing the same to her. During the breaks, he would rock out to the music, in between sharing notes with the staff.
The show itself was great, other than the fairly boring guest, who wrote an article about gay animals. The skit with the faux German ambassador being taught about donuts was a different experience live than it would have been on camera, as you also got to watch Colbert watching the German character’s monologue.
TDS, I was happy to see once. Colbert, I wish I could see live multiple times a week.
To see the episode I saw, April 13, 2010, and try to hear my guffaws, go here.
My Daily Show experience can be found here.