Colbert Honors Outgoing Showrunner Chris Licht: ‘I Trained the Next President of CNN’ (Video)

Licht took over as showrunner of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in 2016

Early in Monday night’s episode of “The Late Show,” Stephen Colbert took some time to pay tribute to his outgoing showrunner Chris Licht.

Licht, who became “The Late Show” showrunner in April 2016, was announced over the weekend as the new president of CNN, and Colbert couldn’t be happier for his soon-to-be former boss.

“I trained the next president of CNN, so I believe legally CNN now stands for the Colbert News Network,” Colbert joked.

Licht will leave “The Late Show” and make the jump to CNN in May, and Colbert repeatedly praised his leadership, praising Licht’s “tenacity in the face of opposition.” He also told some lighthearted stories about Licht’s leadership, including how he encouraged employees to be on their best behavior. “Have a good time, not a great time,” Colbert said was something Licht would frequently say before staff parties. “But he’s leaving, so screw it. This Christmas, I’m inaugurating the Chris Licht commemorative beer flume.”

Colbert explained how Licht’s background — he came up through news instead of entertainment — contrasted with the staff of “The Late Show,” who Colbert said are “all show-folk here.” But Colbert said Licht displayed a “humility” he hardly ever sees in executives.

“Here’s the thing. There are bosses, and then there are leaders,” Colbert said, addressing Licht directly at this point. “Bosses tell you what to do. Leaders work as hard as you do to do what needs to be done. And that’s what you did. And that is why he earned the respect of all of us here who live in the clown car. We showed him what we really wanted to do, which is the show that we do now, and he immediately started creating the lines of communication, the lanes of responsibility and the respectful workplace that makes creative ambition at this speed possible, and I’m happy that CNN will now benefit from all of his wisdom.”

Colbert also walked viewers through some changes Licht made when he took over, including bringing an end to the recurring character “Shriekin’ Joe,” who Licht didn’t like. Of course they brought the character back for Colbert’s tribute.

You can watch the whole clip above.