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The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is a late-night variety show aimed at adults that leans heavily on interviews with celebrities and other public figures who typically have something to promote, be it a movie, an album, or a political campaign. You'll hear the occasional "damn" and "hell" along with some strong sexual innuendo, some of which relates to political news stories. There are jokes about drinking, smoking pot, and sometimes violent events are mentioned. There's also some comedic product placement with popular brands. Note that following the election of President Trump, derisive jokes about the presidency and specific conservatives are commonplace.
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What's the story?
Picking up the mantle from former Late Show host David Letterman, funnyman Stephen Colbert puts his own spin on the standard late-night variety-show format for THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT, mixing comedy, music, and celebrity interview segments with some of the political humor he perfected on The Colbert Report. Juilliard-trained jazz musician and now bandleader Jon Batiste step into the shoes of Letterman's longtime sidekick, Paul Shaffer.
Is it any good?
The show's sarcastic and razor-sharp satire features Stephen Colbert's humble, polished, and occasional kooky style of humor that was a trademark of The Colbert Report. The show's time slot puts it in direct competition with Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, whose hosts' epic pranks and star-studded lip-sync battles make them hits among teens and 20-somethings. However, Colbert's late-night shenanigans, while fun, feel a lot more traditional by comparison, courting a slightly older audience.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, like many other comedic talks shows, features its share of humor about real-life political events. However, over time this humor has become much more derisive, targeting specific political figures and policies so directly that it has made Colbert the subject of tweets posted by President Donald Trump. Nonetheless, The Late Show remains a smart and funny addition to late-night network t.v. entertainment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the purpose of late-night talk shows such as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. What does the audience get out of it? And, more importantly, what do the guests get out of it? Is it all about entertainment, or is it also all about promotion?
With which other variety shows is The Late Show with Stephen Colbert competing? What's it doing differently to set itself apart? Who seems to be the target audience?
How does the Stephen Colbert you see on The Late Show compare to the character he created to host The Colbert Report? Is his late-night persona the "real" Stephen, or is it another persona he's developed for television?
For kids who love late-night comedy
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.