Caveat: There’s no guarantee that Comedy Central will program another topical nightly talk show in The Colbert Report’s place when Stephen Colbert leaves to take over CBS’s Late Show in 2015.
After all, Colbert isn’t just another late night gabfest – it’s a parody of a very specific type of news program, starring a character who’s a very specific caricature of folks like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. (Limbaugh, naturally, has already spoken out against Colbert’s move to CBS, saying that the network has “declared war on the heartland of America.”) It would be strange and sad to see Comedy Central try to capture similar lightning in a similar bottle by ordering another show that parodies cable news the same way Colbert did.
That said, I can’t see the network scrambling to find a whole week’s worth of new programming for the 11:30 timeslot – and if it’s going to go with another nightly program, some sort of talk show revolving around some sort of central comedic figure would make the most sense. So, with that in mind, here are eight options for Colbert replacements – both realistic and more pie-in-the-sky.
Inside Amy Schumer is one of the funniest shows Comedy Central has right now – and with every episode, Schumer proves that she’s as adept at standup and interviews as she is with sketch comedy. (Her woman-on-the-street interstitials show that she’s great on her feet, while her in-depth “Amy Goes Deep” segments prove she can come up with questions for anyone from a porn editor to a 108-year-old woman.) Given the range Inside covers, it’s easy to imagine Schumer having enough material to come up with something new every night.
Any Daily Show correspondent
Jessica Williams, Aasif Mandvi, Al Madrigal, Samantha Bee, Jason Jones – they’re all great, and they’re all clearly capable of helming a half-hour of TV solo. (Well, maybe not Jordan Klepper, who just got hired a month ago.) Imagine the possibilities: Bee and Jones could host together, becoming the first couple of late night! Kristen Schaal could cover lady issues every single night! John Oliver could reneg on the whole HBO thing and come back home where he belongs! The show could even feature a rotating stable of correspondents doing their thing, just to keep things interesting. On second thought, actually, maybe this is the best solution:
No, I’m not suggesting that Stewart hosts two different programs every night. But given that the longtime Daily Show host both loves his current job (enough to basically take himself out of the running for the Late Show gig before news of Colbert’s succession broke Thursday morning) and yearns to stretch himself – see his recent summer off the grid – now might be the perfect time for Comedy Central to consider expanding The Daily Show from a half-hour to an hourlong format. With an extra 20+ minutes of airtime, Stewart and his team could dive more deeply into the day’s top stories and have extra time for both field pieces and interviews. (Imagine a world where you don’t have to go online to see Stewart’s full interviews with folks like Nate Silver and Nancy Pelosi!)
Slowly but surely, Parks and Rec is winding down, and it’s easy to see a future in which its upcoming 7th season is also its last. That’ll leave Ansari without a regular TV slot – but a show on Comedy Central would allow him to perform standup on the regular, get back to his sketch comedy roots, and regularly chill onscreen with his best pal Kanye West. Or he could do the whole thing as his Funny People character Raaaaaaaandy. Wait, better idea: Ansari co-hosts with his Parks co-star Retta, and the two spend every single night treating themselves.
Her name keeps popping up on late night dream host lists, and for good reason: Between her voiceover work on Archer, her time on The Talk, her podcast, and her stint as host of the Whose Line revival, Tyler has basically spent her whole career training for a late-night talk show gig. Giving her the Comedy Central spot wouldn’t just give the late night landscape some much-needed diversity – it’d also reward someone who truly deserves a bigger and better platform.
Peretti is great on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but she’s also a skilled and prolific writer with a finely-honed comic sensibility. Turn her loose on half-an-hour of screentime each night, and she’s bound to do something great with it. Who knows – maybe she’d even be able to come up with a character as iconic as “Stephen Colbert.”
W. Kamau Bell
Totally Biased was canceled way too soon. Bell deserves a do-over – and Comedy Central could be the perfect venue for it. Airing a new Bell show after Stewart would also keep the hour politically-focused, if that’s something the network cares about doing.
Sorry, Tracy: You’re not getting Letterman’s job. Would you settle for a cable slot instead – one that’s probably much more forgiving of your blue humor?
So, which of these options would you like to see in Colbert’s old spot come 2015 – and which names would you add to the list?