The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert TV Poster Image
A late-night sampler of music, celebrities, and pop culture.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

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, but the overall tone is light and, at times, a little kooky.

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, and it usually seems like he's having fun too.


Sexual innuendo, such as references to "making love."


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 light sexual innuendo that will go over most kids' heads and some jokes about drinking and smoking pot. There's also some comedic product placement with popular brands.

User Reviews

Adult Written byC'Dale G. November 10, 2017


November 10th 2017 Your very disrespectful remake of Keith Urbans new song "Female" was extremely disturbing and very unnecessary. You crossed the li... Continue reading
Adult Written byWacy T. October 9, 2017
Kid, 9 years old July 21, 2016

Really good show, Colbert is my 3rd favorite comedian.

There are some episodes that have too much sex, but many don`t. There are some occasional Damns and Hells but it`s usually no swearing. There might be s drink o... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byIloveponies20 March 6, 2018

Inappropriate and offending.

This man clearly shows his opinion on Donald Trump. Sometimes he's funny-- I really only like his skits. He includes a lot of sexual innuendo and talks tra... 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 a touch 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?

If you loved Stephen Colbert as the overblown host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, you’re bound to like his fun-but-familiar take on hosting a late-night network TV talk show. The trademark sarcasm and razor-sharp satire is still very much there. But in place of the self-absorbed conservative pundit who peddled patriotism and touted "truthiness," The Late Show with Stephen Colbert gives us an equally polished but humble -- and occasionally kooky -- showman who seems unapologetically giddy about his new gig. And why shouldn't he be? It's pretty darn great.

The Late 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 often go viral, fueled by social-networking shares among teens and 20-somethings. But Colbert's late-night shenanigans, while fun, feel a lot more traditional by comparison, courting a slightly older audience with the wisdom to keep watching.

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

For kids who love late-night comedy

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