It’s no secret that Stephen Colbert has struggled to find his footing as host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He’s a genuinely funny guy, but translating that to late night television, not to mention a severe lack of comfort during interview segments, has made Late Show a bit of a disappointing watch. However, Colbert had a very good run last week during the Republican National Convention, as he was right in his wheelhouse—politics is where Colbert soars. Last week’s shows not only saw Jon Stewart come on to decry some of the more inflammatory boastings from the RNC, but also the return of a fan favorite character: Stephen Colbert.
Indeed, the Late Show host reprised his role as the host of The Colbert Report to wild enthusiasm from those who’ve missed that wry sense of humor. However, while one imagined Colbert would be using the character quite sparingly so he could continue to bolster the heart of the Late Show, it turns out that was the last time we’ll ever see “Stephen Colbert.”
On last night’s show, Colbert took to the air to explain that immediately after the “Stephen Colbert” segment, they got a call from a very unhappy other network:
“This is true, immediately after that show, CBS’ top lawyer was contacted by the top lawyer from another company to say that the character Stephen Colbert is their intellectual property. Which is surprising because I never considered that guy much of an intellectual. So it is with a heavy heart that I announce that thanks to corporate lawyers, the character of Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, will never be seen again.”
The announcement elicited boos from the audience, to which Colbert responded:
“I feel the same way but what can I do? The lawyers have spoken. I cannot reasonably argue I own my face or name.”
THR confirmed that Comedy Central parent company Viacom protested to CBS about the use of the character, so while Colbert is known for tongue-in-cheek, it appears that this is unfortunately true—we won’t ever see “Stephen Colbert” again.
However, in true Colbert fashion, he followed up by introducing “Stephen Colbert’s cousin” who he described as “totally different” from the host of The Colbert Report. So yeah, there’s a bit of a workaround here, and it’s hard to blame Colbert’s frustration on the issue—it is him after all.
Regardless, check out the video below.