As I watched The Late Show‘s second episode last night, I was most impressed by how quickly the show got comfortable. Specifically, they introduced what seems poised to be a recurring bit, “The Hat Has Spoken”.
The bit’s construction is simple: a big fuzzy dictator hat is lowered from the ceiling, descending onto Stephen and allowing him to make decrees that shall be considered law. Colbert sternly outlines his list of demands, including gems such as “From this day forward, no one is required to say goodbye to every single acquaintance before leaving a party” (this one drew the first big applause of the evening). The bit is certainly random and absurd, which is an encouraging development. Once the audience understood the conceit, they seemed to jump on board instantly, and it was definitely a success.
The bit stuck out to me further due to what it reminded me of. Fans of Late Night with Conan O’Brien will remember his recurring bit, “In the Year 3000”. Colbert’s “The Hat Has Spoken” bares many resemblances to Conan’s “3000” bit, right down to the “object being lowered from the ceiling” aspect of it. It’s quite possible that the Colbert bit was, in fact, written by longtime Conan writer Brian Stack.
It’s nice to see Colbert already experimenting with bringing back the exciting absurdity of the days of Late Night. Already, it’s clear that the show is aiming for something between Conan and Fallon as far as tone is concerned. They’re combining the wackiness and absurdity of Conan with the jovial and inviting nature of Fallon’s Tonight Show. The results, so far, have been worth tuning in for.
Here’s a clip of the Colbert bit: