Chelsea Handler calls out Stephen Colbert for “following in the footsteps of someone else” on The Late Show.
Chelsea Handler expressed her dissatisfaction with the current late-night TV landscape during an interview with the New York Times to promote her new Netflix show Chelsea. The comedian took particular aim at Stephen Colbert – who succeeded David Letterman as host of The Late Show last fall – questioning whether he’s being himself on the late-night series:
"“There are 10 or 11 guys doing what used to be done by two guys. That’s not interesting. Look what’s going on with Stephen Colbert and that show. What is that? He’s being himself and he’s not. He didn’t go in and make a different show. He’s just following in the footsteps of someone else.”"
Colbert previously played a conservative pundit on his popular Comedy Central series The Colbert Report, leading many to wonder whether his true personality would shine through and resonate with viewers on his new gig. While there have been several bumps along the road, including modest ratings, The Late Show has reportedly undergone a “retooling” after recently hiring a new showrunner. The changes have been subtle so far, such as a cold open segment before the opening credits and a shorter monologue, but numerous think pieces continue to be written on what can be done to “solve” the program.
In her interview with the Times, Handler went on to express her frustration with the continued talk about the lack of women in late-night TV. “I don’t think of myself as a woman — I think of myself as a person,” she explained. “Do you think that’s what I think about all day? No, I’m just trying to be entertaining.”
Since her departure from her E! talk show Chelsea Lately, which she now dismisses as “one-dimensional,” there’s been only one other woman in late-night – The Daily Show alum Samantha Bee – whose Full Frontal has received rave reviews from critics and a 26-episode order from TBS.
Handler’s new talk show will be produced three times a week for Netflix. She told the newspaper that she won’t be following a familiar late-night format for the show, such as the addition of a sidekick or house band, stating, “I don’t want people turning it on and seeing the same thing. Monologue. First guest. Band. Da, da, da. I just can’t do it that way.”
The 41-year-old comedian may have given viewers a preview of what they can expect to see when she produced a well-received documentary series called Chelsea Does for the streaming service that covered such topics as racism, marriage and drugs. Although she has already filmed several remote segments for Chelsea, including one where she worked as a Lyft driver, and another in Florida tied to the upcoming 2016 presidential election, the show will still film in a studio in front of a live audience, and will feature one-on-one interviews as well as panel discussions. And though she has pledged to avoid interviewing celebrities that are just on to plug their latest project, she did recently assemble the cast of Captain America: Civil War for a dinner party, a preview of which can be seen below:
“All these shows try to start out selling something different, and ultimately all become the same, just with a different guy,” Handler added. “I have to do everything I can to prevent that from happening.”
Chelsea will debut on Netflix on Wednesday, May 11. Each 30-minute episode will be posted just after midnight Pacific time on Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays. Meanwhile, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert can be seen weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS. Upcoming guests include Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, Katie Couric, Kaley Cuoco and Dan Savage.