How Stephen Colbert Is Staying Relevant in the Run-Up to ‘The Late Show’ (Videos)

The comedian has been awfully busy for a man without a show. Here’s the definitive timeline of his “time off”

Last Updated: July 15, 2015 @ 4:47 PM

Even during his time between jobs, Stephen Colbert has stayed a busy man.

The incoming “Late Show” host has been without a TV show since quitting “The Colbert Report” in December and won’t hit CBS’ airwaves for another few months still, but that doesn’t mean he’s taking time off from entertaining. Colbert has popped up every few weeks on the web like clockwork, spoofing topical news, practicing his interview skills and generally being his own best marketing tool.

On Tuesday night, Colbert inserted himself into the debate over the latest Pluto photos, taking guest Neil DeGrasse Tyson to task in the process.

“You were driving the car that murdered Pluto as a planet,” the comic accused the unimpressed renowned astrophysicist.

The two then found common ground on their love for Klondike bars. Watch that video above, and catch up on how else Colbert has been spending his vacation below.

colbert-comedians_in_carsClosing “Comedians in Cars”

Last Wednesday, a still-bearded Colbert appeared on the season finale of Jerry Seinfeld’s Crackle web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” During the conversation between the two comics, Colbert revealed that he planned to leave “The Colbert Report” regardless of CBS’ offer to replace David Letterman as “The Late Show” host.

“I was ready to stop,” he said, adding, “The Letterman thing fell into my lap.”

Lucky for us.

Playing NYSE

Earlier that day, Colbert mocked the New York Stock Exchange meltdown in a post to his new show’s YouTube page.

“Do you understand that for nearly four hours America’s bankers had no idea how rich they were?” Colbert lamented.

Colbert also feared during the chaos that he had become the last celebrity on Earth and apes took over the talk shows. “But if apes are the new people, who are the new apes?” Colbert asked. “Dogs? They’re not ready for that kind of responsibility!”

Public access takeover

On the first of this month, Colbert did an entire episode of Michigan Public Access TV show “Only in Monroe,” on which he interviewed Detroit native Eminem, who called the experience “really fucking weird.”

“Welcome to another edition of ‘Only In Monroe,'” said Colbert as he watered fake plants on set at the top of the program. “I’m Stephen Colbert filling in for your usual hosts Michelle Bowman and Kaye Lani Rae Rafko Wilson. I’m not sure how many people that is, but none of them could be here tonight.”

He’ll be back next month; only in Monroe.

Anything for the troops

At the end of June, Colbert updated his “Late Show” YouTube page by doing 20 push-ups for the troops, kind of. He faked his way through the challenge from former Comedy Central collaborator Jon Oliver.

For a minute there, however, he looked pretty yoked.

Watch that here:

Supreme Court fooling

Days before that display of brains over brawn, Colbert celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

“If you’re a homosexual and living in North Dakota, all your problems are solved,” Colbert, sitting at a desk adorned with two rainbow flags, said.

“Wow, history moves fast,” he continued. “It’s hard to believe that gay Americans achieved full Constitutional personhood just five years after corporations did.”

Colbert: Now in pod form

Colbert has even done five episodes of “The Late Show Podcast,” as well as a bonus audio clip covering South Carolina’s removal of the Confederate flag from its state capital building.

On June 22, a portion of one podcast was even animated for the web for a “tooncast” in which Colbert explained why he needed wider seats than predecessor Letterman did.

“It’s an American show and I want American asses in my seats,” he concluded of the set design process. Watch that here:

Stephen does the Donald

In mid-June, the comic mocked Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy declaration with an announcement of his own.

“Donald Trump’s campaign for President of the United States is not just great for America, it’s great for late-night television,” Colbert said. “Donald’s Presidential campaign has inspired me, Stephen Colbert, to announce that I will still be hosting ‘The Late Show’ on CBS.”

“He looked great on television. I was really surprised. I saw him come out and I thought, ‘He looks like he fell into a river and they raked his body out of the surf down in Cape May three weeks from now, but the important thing was the crabs had not gotten to his eyes,'” Colbert said of Trump. “And that sends a message to voters that if you vote for him, he’s not physically dead.”

Jingle, white male

Earlier that month, Colbert even wrote his new show’s own theme song.

Colbert’s dulcet tones fill the room as he sings, “What time is it? It’s Late!/What show is it? It’s Show!”

His dog sits nearby, drinking in the glorious music that Colbert composes. It’s actually not very good, but he managed to cross No. 1 off his “Show Needs” whiteboard list before huffing the marker.

Orchestral maneuver

Colbert didn’t need to pen his own theme, because four days earlier he named Stay Human’s Jon Batiste the new-look “Late Show’s” bandleader.

“His music makes the audience feel so good, we may have to install a ‘Do Not Make Love’ sign,” Colbert said.

“I’m thrilled! This is a match made in heaven. Get ready for a love riot in late night,” Batiste added at the time.

Farewell, Colbeard

A mere 24 hours before the Batiste announcement, Colbert officially launched the “Late Show” website by shaving his outrageous “Colbeard.”

“Welcome to the Internet,” he said. “Good news, I still exist.”

Unfortunately, the white and gray mess all landed on his suddenly unappetizing hot dog. The video is still the “Welcome” clip that launches along with “The Late Show’s” YouTube page.

Dancing for dollars

In May, Colbert participated in the CBS upfront presentation, while Letterman did not.

Colbert told the audience of media buyers that he was proud to join the so-called Tiffany Network and explained, “Tiffany, of course, was the name of William Paley’s favorite stripper,” a reference to the venerable CBS pioneer. “It was this close to being The Cinnamon Network.”

He also took a shot at Fox’s boss, telling the assembled advertisers that they “want young eyeballs, and not just the ones Rupert Murdoch buys on the black market.”

Keeping Interview Skills Sharp

It had been a while since Colbert interviewed a celebrity guest, but he got back on that bicycle during April’s Tribeca Film Festival, moderating a conversation with George Lucas. At one point, however, the “Star Wars” visionary turned the tables on his host, asking Colbert why he didn’t just take over “The Daily Show.”

“I don’t want to be the guy to take over for Jon Stewart. I worked for Jon Stewart on that show, my memories will always be of him being the most keenest, most intelligent, most beautifully deconstructive mind, clearest thinker I have ever worked with or for,” Colbert explained.

“I’ll never, however successful I be, get underneath [Stewart’s] shadow,” he said. “Someone who doesn’t know him as well, and maybe doesn’t love him as much, might have a better time on that show than I ever would.”

Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show” debuts Sep. 8 at 11:30 p.m on CBS.

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