Stephen Colbert and the New Age of Television

So, apparently Stephen Colbert and his Late Show crew aren’t measuring up in the land of social media. It’s 2016, so this is a thing now to take into consideration when running a TV show, along with all the other trillions of things that need to go right… I guess?

Is this why anyone bothers watching TV now? So we can all get recognized for doing so?

While I do find the odd extra clip and ability to interact with late night comedy shows a fun way to connect with said show, the Internet habits of my favourite late night hosts aren’t why I tune in. I genuinely love the format and have been watching these since I was a kid, long before the Internet as we know it was a thing. I’m loyal. I’ve loved Colbert since his days on The Daily Show, just like I loved Jon Stewart since his too-hip-to-be-square days on The Jon Stewart Show. I’m going to tune in to who I like as long as they still make me laugh. I assumed that’s how it still worked in the land of TV, but then I only just decided to pay more attention to Instagram, so what do I know? I own CDs.

All that said, it’s a shame the essence of actually being at a taping of Colbert’s Late Show isn’t translating to the masses. I saw a taping in February and it was, quite easily, the most fun I’ve ever had at a TV taping (and that includes the shows I’ve worked on). This group knows how to entertain a crowd. The pre-show was lengthy and as entertaining as the show itself and I wanted to run back the next night to do it all over again (I didn’t. I had to go back home). If the importance of social media and the ability to connect with the audience outside the box is where things are going, then I hope someone over at the Colbert camp can find a way to capture the energy and joy of a taping for everyone who can’t go.

For example, the night I was there, during the taping Stephen had a slight wardrobe malfunction with a wig he struggled to put on. It was amusing. However, they edited it out of the final cut for the show that night. I tried explaining it to friends, but naturally it just wasn’t the same. There was a hilarious exchange between the audience warm-up guy before the show and a lesbian couple who were there celebrating a birthday. He had them tell the story of how they met and the whole thing, including his comments, were gold. Stephen also does a Q&A with the crowd beforehand, and the band is heavily showcased and we’re introduced to each one of them and.. and… and… It was just too much fun to be having for free. Outtakes/bloopers, or “what you didn’t see” would be simple to do, if the masses are looking for stuff beyond just what’s on their screen every night.

I will cave to the social media gods and say I do agree it would have been fun if the Late Show account  “Liked” or Re-tweeted my comment about how much fun a taping was. We all love that on Twitter, right? Yeah, yeah I know. That hasn’t, however, changed my opinion of the show or made me not want to watch clips when I can’t tune in. I’m going to assume I’m not the only old school fan who feels this way.

Honestly, during a taping,  if you watch Stephen during commercial breaks, you will see this guy takes this gig very seriously. He was running around chatting with people about this and that during every break, going over notes for the next guest, always moving. Always working. He puts so much into it. This is clearly his baby and he wants it to go smoothly.

If a Late Show cell phone that Stephen, the band, etc had on set to live tweet a taping (without giving anything away) would soothe social media woes, then go for it guys. It’s a start. Do whatever you have to over there, Colbert team, to keep things running – You have a fun thing going! I had standby tickets to Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert that day, and I picked Colbert. Do what you will with that one, TV execs.




How to Get Tickets to See The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:
Line up at the Ed Sullivan Theatre at 1pm; give them your name. Come back in a few hours and cross your fingers that some ticket holders didn’t show up. Give it a shot. Or be a responsible, well-planned individual and get your tickets here. 🙂

Spreading that Social Media Love:
Late Show with Stephen Colbert – YouTube
Twitter: @colbertlateshow
Facebook: Late Show with Stephen Colbert

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