I caught up with Stephen Colbert over the summer at a CBS party for TV critics.Let me be more specific. I stalked him at the crowded soiree until I saw an opening in the gaggle of reporters — and actors — jostling for an audience with the anointed “Late Show” host.
“I have a Chicago question,” I yelled above the thumping bass music.
That got his attention. Colbert may be a Southern boy from Charleston, South Carolina, but the Windy City remains near and dear to this Northwestern grad and Second City alum.
“I love Chicago,” he said, and not in that pat tone stars use when they want to feed you a sound bite and move on.
He talked about filling every vacancy in his “Late Show” writers room with Chicago talent, and whether he’d have Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a guest on his show. (“Suuuure,” he said warily. “You can talk to him about it.”) He reminisced about his years spent serving Italian food at the recently shuttered Scoozi in River North.
“The zucchini haystack,” he sighed. “I’ll miss it.”
You can read excerpts from that interview and more in a piece I did for Michigan Avenue.
And starting Tuesday, you can watch Colbert when, at long last, he takes over “The Late Show” at 10:35 p.m. (Central) on CBS with an extended episode that will end a bit later than usual at 11:44 p.m.
Can’t wait until then? Beginning Thursday and leading up to Tuesday’s premiere, Colbert will post a new video message each day on Snapchat. (Colbert’s fleeting snaps — they disappear after a day — can be found in the messaging app’s Discover content section.)
“I never thought I’d be on Snapchat. I saw the icon once and assumed it was a social network for ghosts,” Colbert says in Thursday’s snap, which shows him sitting behind a desk, wearing a CBS name tag.
He explains that the Snapchat stunt was sold to him by CBS marketing folks as “a great way for us to reach the elusive millennial audience.”
“I know just how elusive millennials are — I have never found one person who calls themselves that,” he says in the video. “So I couldn’t pass up the chance to meet the leaders of tomorrow and the coveted demographic of today.”
Here’s the guest line-up for the first week of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:”
Tuesday: Oscar winner George Clooney, Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and a musical performance by “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” bandleader Jon Batiste and his group, Stay Human.
Wednesday: Actress Scarlett Johansson, SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, interview with and musical performance by Kendrick Lamar, who was Colbert’s last musical guest on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”
Thursday: Vice President Joe Biden, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and country singer Toby Keith.
Friday: Comedian Amy Schumer; author Stephen King, interview with and musical performance by Troubled Waters.