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February 2017

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How Stephen Colbert Won the Ratings Race

Written by , Posted in General


I should start this piece by confessing that I’ve never really been a Colbert fan. His Comedy Central shtick never appealed much to me, and he looks a little like a boring tax professior. But looks can be deceiving, as can ratings, and Colbert has proved his prowess as the dark horse. According to Variety, Colbert is beating Fallon for the first time, and they attribute it to the political climate. Personally, I attribute it to authenticity.

There was a time when the rumor mill said that James Corden would replace Colbert, especially after his Carpool Karaoke bit became a viral sensation. Corden denied it, and Colbert expressed his sadness that the rumor existed at all, saying, “The implication of that question is that the show isn’t good enough in its present position. So of course that makes you feel bad. But it doesn’t jibe with what I know about our show, so you recover.”

While there’s certainly no doubt that Jimmy Fallon and James Corden are extremely diverse talents that can offer things Colbert cannot, those talents aren’t everything, and show ponies have a shelf life. Fallon’s bits are great, but they can grow tired, and in a heavy political climate, people want authentic interviews and a solid take — MIXED with humor. Fallon is more of a “fan-girl” in interviews, often falling over with inauthentic guffaws over unfunny comments. As for Colbert, his on-point pivots based on the response he receives to his questions, proves he’s ACTUALLY LISTENING. In fact, if you don’t believe me, watch his very impressive interview with Kendrick Lamar before leaving Comedy Central. He wants an answer to the question he’s asking, and he’s not just going to slap his desk over a bad joke so the audience thinks it’s funny. Good job, Colbert.