Stephen Colbert’s Late Show Debut Almost Didn’t Happen

Here’s how CBS narrowly avoided disaster.

Stephen Colbert made it through his debut as the new host of CBS’s The Late Show to rave reviews, but it turns out the first show almost didn’t happen.

“The show premiered last night, and I’m happy to say we made it to show two,” Colbert told his audience on Wednesday. “This is great because I believe that’s when my health insurance kicks in. And I almost needed a heart transplant last night because a funny thing happened  — and this is an absolutely true story I’m about to tell you. The show almost didn’t get on the air last night. The show was a little long. It was a double stuffed Oreo stuffed with other Oreoes …. you know, first show, you want to do a lot. And, we had to cut some stuff we loved …”

Colbert then directed the audience to to watch unaired clips from the show, including Jeb Bush’s impression of Donald Trump (which was cut from the original airing why?). He then explained how the bloated episode, jam-packed with comedic goodies, crashed the CBS servers while producers were trying to edit it.

“Here’s the thing: It took us awhile to cut the show down to time, and when we tried to send it to the network so they could show it to you on air, the computers kept crashing. Yeah!” said Colbert. “And, at a 11:20, no one in the building could give me a guarantee for certain the show was going to go on the air last night. So! You can imagine how exciting that was for all of us. After CBS had plastered my face on every flat surface on the planet – the Pope has a tattoo of my face. He has a tramp stamp of my face… And as I felt the oxygen begin to drain from my brain and all my organs shutting down, I thought, ‘If we actually make it to air, this will be a pretty good story. And if we don’t, it will still be a very interesting story to tell at the theater camp I’ll be running in Idaho.’”

An interesting story, indeed. Colbert also managed to slip in another Oreo plug during last night’s  opening monologue. Maybe all of this is part of “the regrettable compromise” he joked about on the debut show, before plugging sponsor Sabra hummus. It’s OK, Stephen: we’ll still watch you, technical glitches and product placements and all.