INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 9, 2015)-- Stephen Colbert knows better than anyone who was the first host of the "Late Show." But, he’s quick to say he’s not replacing David Letterman, because no one can.
"Replacing Dave is impossible, because he's too big, there is no such thing as 'Late Show,' there was only Letterman,” said Colbert.
Colbert talked about the new "Late Show" in an interview before the show’s debut this week. He paid tribute to Letterman before the Indy-native retired and went on his show to reveal the "Top 10" list he wrote when he applied for a job with Letterman in 1997. But Letterman’s influence on Colbert goes back even further than that.
"I started college in 1982, the same year, the same night Dave started "Late Night" and I talked to him about this, he said he had no idea how influential they were when they started cause they thought they would be cancelled, but I told him you were everything to us, we would come home from parties to see what Dave would do that night,” said Colbert.
Colbert’s show will be taped in the Ed Sullivan Theatre, the same venue where Letterman made so much television history. The new host freely admits he learned from the best.
"I'm the original Letterman fan, his influence is so huge it's hard to perceive it on the landscape. Everyone has borrowed from Dave, which is a comedy term for stealing," said Colbert.
In an interview after he retired, David Letterman revealed he had no input on who would replace him, though Colbert was on his short list of candidates. He says Stephen Colbert is a veteran performer who really doesn’t need his advice. Colbert admits his television experience is just one reason he doesn’t feel pressure to replace one of his first comedic idols.
"Because Dave was such an enormous figure in comedy, I don't feel any pressure to replace him, I just feel the normal pressure, I would with any show, we did it for 10 years, it's not like I've never done a late show before."