The Colbert Report, V: The Late Show Gets Spooky

By Ryan Matera

Via Colbert News Hub

Colbert came back blazing from his week off, improvising and dancing to a crowd that very clearly missed his presence. In the week’s opener we were brought up to speed with another classic edition of “The Hungry for Power Games,” wonderfully interrupted by the original Caesar Flickerman, who criticized Colbert’s impression (of his brother) and forced him to adopt a new persona, Julius Trinket, the brother of Elizabeth Banks’ Hunger Games character. The bit was amusing as ever and promises to grow popular once more as the final Hunger Games film’s release date approaches.

Later in the show, Colbert gave rising musician Chance the Rapper the chance (eh?) to premier his newest song, “Angel,” which he released on iTunes for free. Chance’s performance follows his wildly successful tour and was on par with the album he released last May with the Social Experiment. In an interview before the performance, Chance also confirmed a project released between him and Colbert. Amid vague comments we could surmise that it may come out randomly, it may include a documentary, and Colbert may have bars.

Hillary Clinton’s appearance was noticeably less brutal than her usual presidential candidate interviews, but after her successful week this episode seemed more like a victory lap. When it came time to talk policy, she specifically referenced her plans to deal with Wall Street and break up the big banks (anyone else getting Bernie Sanders vibes?). The crowd was certainly on her side and the interview did plenty of work to humanize her on her campaign.

One thing that has still been searching for its right fit is Colbert’s side conversations with bandleader Jon Baptiste. Baptiste’s constantly aloof way of speaking seems like an unusually relaxed part of the show and actually causes the viewer to wonder if this part of the show is improvised or fake like everything else seen on television. The conversations work at times, but often leave us wondering if Baptiste is a genius musician or a stoner, assuming the two are even different.

The Halloween episode was a solid way to end the week reminiscent of Carson’s days when hosts would go all out on holidays with grand showcases. The set was decorated and for a moment even transformed into a living room to greet some local trick-or-treaters who kept interrupting Colbert’s solution to the crisis in the Middle East with Halo 5 product placements. Colbert’s lisp and Charlie Rose’s incredibly detailed Frankenstein’s Monster costume helped make the set feel more like a home and further familiarized the young show.

Tune in next week to see Bryan Cranston, Margaret Cho, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Ryan Matera is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email him at entertainment@nyunews.com

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