It was a moment any talk show had hoped to experience since the pandemic lockdowns occurred in March 2020. After 460 days and over 200 editions of “A Late Show” — Colbert’s remotely-produced program, the June 14, 2021 edition of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” returned in front of a fully-packed Ed Sullivan Theater live studio audience. (Each member of the crowd was required to show proof of being vaccinated.)
The episode began with Colbert performing a musical number as a tribute to wearing suit pants once again.
His opening monologue concluded with his wife Evie Colbert making a guest appearance. She had been Stephen’s only audience member during the remotely-recorded episodes for the past year. Evie told the crowd, “Audience, he’s all yours now!”
Later, Stephen did an interview with “President Joe Biden” (aka “SNL” alum Dana Carvey).
Then, longtime pal Jon Stewart was the night’s featured guest. Stewart humorously commented “There’s nothing I wanted to do more than breathe everyone’s air.”
At the end of their interview, Colbert displayed a picture of himself and Stewart back in their Comedy Central days, circa 2004, to which Stewart observed “Time has ravaged one of us unequally.”
“Late Show” bandleader Jon Batiste — who recently took home an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for his music work on the Disney/Pixar film “Soul” — closed the night with his song “FREEDOM” from his new album “WE ARE.”
Stephen Colbert proudly proclaimed in his monologue that his “Late Show” is the first Broadway theatrical show to welcome back an audience (to which he joked “Suck it, ‘Lion King’!“). Two weeks prior, “The Wendy Williams Show” was the first talk show in Manhattan to return its in-studio crowd.