Stephen Colbert opened his first “Late Show” monologue with a callback to his Comedy Central character, announcing, “Hello Nation.”
He then got down to the business of making jokes. Here are five of the best from Wednesday night, starting with his very first crack as CBS’ 11:35 p.m. host:
1. After thunderous applause, a standing ovation and a “Stephen! Stephen! Stephen!” chant: “Well folks, if I knew you were going to do that, I would have done this months ago.”
2. “You’re all witnessing television history, and like most history, it’s not on the History Channel.”
3. “Folks, we’ve been working so hard, so very hard to get this show ready to you, and I have to say: As long as I have nine months to make one hour of TV, I could do this forever.”
4. “I couldn’t ask for a better TV family than the good folks at CBS, right here. They’re lovely people, really lovely people. They’re so welcoming, I feel like a third ‘Broke Girl.'”
5. “With this show, I begin the search for the real Stephen Colbert. I just hope I don’t find him on Ashley Madison.”
There were also solid site gags early on, one involving network CEO Les Moonves seated behind a lever to throw to a rerun of “The Mentalist.” The CBS chief used the option twice early on in the show, eliciting laughter from the studio audience and, presumably, millions watching at home.
After the first commercial break, Colbert began ragging on Donald Trump, who is sure to be one of his biggest targets during this inaugural season — the comedian even downed a ton of Oreos as part of that gag. At this pace of snacking early and often on camera, Colbert may not fit in his sharp mailman blue premiere suit by sweeps.
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