The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Razor-sharp sampler of celebs, politics, and pop culture.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 61 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The Late Show pokes fun at news and pop culture with sarcasm and a bit of snark. Politics is often a theme, and derisive jokes are often made about conservatives. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

A lot of what you see is shtick, but Colbert is an affable host who puts a positive spin on interview segments and makes his guests feel welcome. His aim is to make the audience laugh and have a good time, but his jokes often target Conservatives, including President Trump, making him appear that he has an agenda. 


On occasion violent incidents are briefly mentioned. 


Sexual innuendo, ranging from references to "making love" to jokes about high profile political news stories relating to prostitutes and mistresses. 


Words such as "damn" and "hell" audible.


Product placement is common but happens in a comedic way -- for example, by Colbert demolishing a package of Oreos on-air or sampling Sabra hummus while proclaiming it's "made from simple, fresh ingredients that bring people together, one bite at a time!" There's also a sales-y element to the show's parade of celebrity guests, who usually have a cause or project they're promoting.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Jokes about drinking, drug use.

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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChiquitasbananna April 4, 2019

Hilarious, witty Satirical Comedy Show

Some Republicans are easily offended, and want to bash "Liberal Media" for "disrespecting" tRump when they obviously don't understand s... Continue reading
Adult Written byAlexiamarie September 18, 2018

Worst show ever

This show needs to be taken off air!!! It’s horrible.
Definitely can easily be replaced.
Kid, 12 years old December 30, 2019

The best late night comidian.

Steven Colbert is super funny, especially about Trump. I find myself falling out of my seat with I watch this, laughing.
Kid, 12 years old December 19, 2019

Hilariously Funny

I started watching this show at around when I was eight years old. And boy, It is hilarious . Positive Messages/Great Role Models : Some guests on the show have... Continue reading

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 ReportThe 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?

TV details

  • Premiere date: September 8, 2015
  • Cast: Stephen Colbert
  • Network: CBS
  • Genre: Variety Show
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: December 22, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love late-night comedy

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