Stephen Colbert, though the numbers didn't point to such a coup during the early months of his Late Show tenure, is the current king of late night. And until Desus and Mero make their grand return via Showtime, that looks to remain the case for quite some time.
Of course, viewers' largely apolitical alternative—Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show—is still doing fine by moneymaking standards. Still, it's hard not to imagine a different current scenario for Fallon had he not gone full dumbass with that Trump hair tousle back in 2016. In a new Rolling Stone feature, however, Colbert comes to Fallon's defense while also noting why such an approach has fallen flat in present-day America.
"You do not go to Jimmy Fallon's show for political satire or even political discussion," Colbert said in the new cover story interview. "He's an entertainer and he's brilliant. People blame his ratings on that. But I think people just have a different appetite right now for political comedy. I think it's highly overblown, that hair-ruffling thing."
As for his own pre-election Trump interview, which included exactly zero hair-rufflings, Colbert says he's still "fine" with how it turned out. "I'm not sure if I'd ever want another bite of that apple, though," he said. "Talk about sipping poison. Because I'm not sure if there's any way for you to bite that apple and not get his disease."
Colbert also discussed the difficulties of portraying a satirical character during his Colbert Report days, the real-life lessons of Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird, Louis C.K.'s sexual misconduct admission, Bill Cosby, and much more. Read the full thing—penned by Brian Hiatt—right here.
In a separate video segment for Rolling Stone, Colbert spoke at length about a passage from Chance the Rapper's Gambino-featuring "Favorite Song." Per Colbert, there's actually a Lord of the Rings connection.