Political comedy has been a staple of Stephen Colbert’s late-night television career, so it makes sense that the host of CBS’ The Late Show plans to attend both the Republican and Democratic conventions this month. On Thursday, in an interview with Politico, Stephen Colbert offered more details, revealing he intends to offer extensive, on-the-ground political coverage of the conventions.
Rather than taping the show each weekday afternoon, as is industry custom, Colbert told Politico he will spend “a couple of days” at each four-day convention, before rushing back to NYC each night to put on a live broadcast of The Late Show. The goal: To be on the news, and topical.
“I don’t really want to lose that opportunity [to discuss the latest events on The Late Show] just because the event that everybody is going to be talking about happened at 10 o’clock that night,” Colbert said in the interview.
Colbert consistently ranks behind NBC’S Tonight Show, hosted by Jimmy Fallon, in terms of ratings. The plans to double down on political coverage suggest that Colbert is trying to boost ratings by using the same recipe–political satire– he’s had success with in the past.
CBS also announced that Colbert’s guests during the two weeks of live, post-convention shows will include HBO late-night host John Oliver, former congressman Anthony Weiner, Senator Elizabeth Warren, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and comedian Keegan-Michael Key.
Colbert also discussed his convention plans on The Late Show Wednesday night:
Since taking over for longtime Late Show host David Letterman at CBS last fall, Colbert has made a point of skewing away from the standard late-night fare of just fluffy interviews with film, TV and music celebs; Colbert invites a fair amount of guests from the realms of politics, science, and big business, though he also have his share of stars, too.
Colbert’s won’t be the only late-night program switching things up for the conventions, though. NBC’s Seth Meyers plans to host a live edition of Late Night during one of the nights of the Republican convention, while Comedy Central’s The Daily Show will film episodes from locations in Cleveland and Philadelphia and HBO will air live episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher during both conventions.
In his interview with Politico, Colbert also riffed on the candidates in the election cycle, saying of Trump: “Donald’s a friend. We’re from the same industry: entertainment. And I doubt that there is a joke that you could make about Donald Trump that would actually upset him. I really think so, because Lord knows we’ve tried.”
He added that it is difficult to satirize Trump because the billionaire and former reality TV star changes his stances so frequently. The comedian also said the character he used to play on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report typically satirized people by trying to “leapfrog their behavior, which is one reason I’m glad I don’t do my character anymore. I don’t know how you can leap from what [Trump] does.”
With respect to Clinton, Politico asked Colbert how he’s handled mocking the Democratic candidate. “The fact that she lied to Congress helps! That really came in handy!” Colbert said.
The Republican National Convention kicks off in Cleveland on July 18, while the Democratic National Convention begins in Philadelphia on July 25.