For the last two weeks, Stephen Colbert has had a run of live shows with top comedic guests, lampooning the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention. But last night’s live edition of The Late Show on CBS–which did not air until after midnight, due to high profile speeches at the DNC–Colbert mentioned one who would no longer be able to attend: “Stephen Colbert,” his alter conservative blowhard alter-ego from the Colbert Report.
Last night, the audience cheered as Colbert mentioned last week’s show, in which “Colbert” and Jon Stewart made a hilarious appearance. “I’m glad you enjoyed it,” Colbert said. “You know who didn’t enjoy it so much? Corporate lawyers.”
The comedian explained that, immediately after airing that live show last week, lawyers at CBS were contacted by a lawyer “at another company” and told the character was the intellectual property of the unnamed company (which, it’s safe to assume, was Viacom, Comedy Central’s parent company and, like CBS, also majority owned by mogul Sumner Redstone’s family company). Colbert called the matter “funny, because I never considered that guy much of an intellectual,” referring to his former alter-ego.
Despite the crowd’s protests, Colbert said he could no longer employ his former Colbert Report character for legal reasons. “The lawyers have spoken,” he said. “I can’t reasonably argue I own my face and name.”
Instead, Colbert told the audience that he was welcoming via satellite “Stephen Colbert’s identical twin cousin, ‘Stephen Colbert'”—then showing a video of Colbert himself in a U.S. flag shirt at the DNC in Philadelphia. The new “Stephen Colbert” even said he’s interested in returning to The Late Show regularly, so we’ll see if this is a new bit in the making (assuming it passes muster with both companies’ lawyers). Colbert even introduced a close facsimile of the Colbert Report‘s “The Word” segment, spelled instead as “The Werd.”
Later, Colbert welcomed another late-night TV colleague in John Oliver, the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight. While the segment was crunched for time due to the show’s late start, Oliver spent much of the time joking about Hillary Clinton’s VP pick, Tim Kaine, whom Oliver referred to mockingly as a “tall glass of Lactaid.” Earlier in the week, Oliver joked on his own show about Kaine as being a boring pick for Clinton’s running mate, comparing the senator to “a rice cooker—a plain, white machine that cooks plain, white rice.”