“Wait a— hey, hey! He doesn’t get that yet! He doesn’t have the job yet!” David Letterman groaned as the classic Top 10 List theme played for Stephen Colbert on the Late Show Tuesday night. “Good heavens! ‘Don’t let the door hit you in the ass!’” It was the one moment with bite — even if it was make-believe bite — in an amiable 12-minute sit-down between present and future CBS late-night icons. Letterman called Colbert “very talented,” “always entertaining,” and “the new kid”; Colbert in turn joked that he plans to flat-out copy “whatever you have done here.”
We didn’t get any hard details on the transition — which still doesn’t have a sharper time frame than “2015” — but we got a good glimpse at how the in-between period will look for Colbert, whose Report on Comedy Central will wrap at the end of this year. “[My kids are] getting ready for me to hang around too much,” he said, adding that vacations don’t suit him well. “I don’t know why you do comedy,” Colbert told Letterman, “but it’s not because everything’s all right up here, for me. It’s not a normal thing to do with your life. It’s more dangerous than bungee jumping, deciding to do this for a living. But I don’t have the constitution for hard-core alcoholism, so I have to tell jokes all the time or I go a little insane. I had last week off and it didn’t go well.”
Colbert also revealed he scored a Late Night internship in 1986 and turned it down. Why? “’Cause you did not pay people,” he told Letterman. “It’s an expensive city. Dave, I gotta ask you: The next job I’m taking here — that pays, right? ’Cause I already signed.”
Then they took a selfie together, because #selfies.