the late show

Stephen Colbert’s Late Show Is Not Chasing Virality: ‘I’m Waiting for the World to Care Enough About What I Do’

Montclair Film Festival 2016 Opening Night
Stephen Colbert. Photo: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Stephen Colbert’s Late Show missed out on the chance to earn an Emmy nomination yesterday, ending Colbert’s years-long streak of nominations for The Colbert Report, but the CBS host isn’t too worried about whether he’s generating buzz at his new digs. In an interview with Ben Smith of BuzzFeed, Colbert said he has a long view of what success means for the show. “I’m waiting for the world to care enough about what I do that we can have a conversation about what I’m doing,” he said. Colbert added that he tries not to craft material for the sake of virality. “I think if I forced it, that’s not improvisation. That’s manipulation.” He pointed to the time he netted millions of online views in less than a day when he unexpectedly hosted a public-access show in Monroe, Michigan, before he started The Late Show. “You can’t hide it if people actually like it,” he said.

Colbert also talked about the lack of diversity in his writers room, something other hosts like Samantha Bee have worked hard to address. “I have a very white writers room,” Colbert said. “It is not intentional.” He added that he doesn’t read the names and résumés on packet submissions, and just sees if the jokes resonate. “I’ve had very few people of color write for me,” he said. “And I don’t know why. It’s not intentional, and I would like that to change.” Colbert noted that he thinks it might be insulting to the person submitting if he hired them simply because of their race, but that he was “missing some voice in America” by not having those people in his room.

Watch the full interview below.

Stephen Colbert on Late Show Ratings, Diversity