Bob Donaldson talks with Stephen Colbert before his premiere on the ‘Late Show’

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(September 6, 2015) – Stephen Colbert says any comedian knows when his jokes work.

"You know if it works because the audience laughs, that's the good thing about comedy. It's not theoretical, no one has to take litmus paper and yes, 2.7, it was funny tonight. You know if the audience laughs," said Colbert.

Colbert did much more than make his audience laugh on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report.  He made them think, often about issues that weren’t inherently funny. But after 10 years playing a character based on the worst of cable news punditry, Colbert was ready to step down even before CBS offered him the Late Show. The new Late Show host talked about it in an in-depth interview before his show debuts this week.

"It is based on a very particular model of punditry and political divisiveness and I think people are tired of political divisiveness and I didn't like watching show that I have to keep abreast with in order to stay true to the intention of that show," said Colbert.

Many Colbert fans don’t even see him replacing David Letterman. Instead, they say he’s replacing the character he created on his old show.

"Right, I guess I am replacing two shows, I'm replacing Late Show with David Letterman and replacing the Colbert Report at the same time, replacing Colbert Report is easier because I am him and it’s all my same staff."

It will be very different for viewers to see the real Colbert for the first time. He’s a performer nothing like the character that he himself called a well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot.

"The character didn't believe he was talking about politics, he believed he was a force in politics and he believed he was 'changing the great ship of destiny', just a few degrees with his iron will toward justice!  And, I do not feel that way Bob...that's not me, I don't have to win."

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