Stephen Colbert’s Best ‘Late Show’ Pre-Premiere Promotional Stunts

Stephen Colbert’s first night as host of CBS’ “Late Show” is Sept. 8, and the comedian and his staff have spent the better part of the summer finding interesting ways of reminding you of that. From puns to public television, Variety ranks our favorite campaigns, thus far.

Only in Monroe
In July, Colbert spent a day as host of a small-time public television program in Michigan titled “Only in Monroe.” His interview subjects include the real hosts of the program — one of whom he challenged to a fingernail-painting contest — and “a local Michigander who is making a name for himself in the competitive world of music,” Eminem.

“I wanted to cut it down to the length of show that we would do on CBS, which is a little bit over 40 minutes, but there’s another 20,” Colbert told reporters at “Late Show’s” Television Critics Assn. panel, which happened a few weeks after the broadcast. “Hopefully, someday, the director’s cut of ‘Only in Monroe’ [will be released. It] has another 20 minutes of Marshall Mathers super mad at me.”

Beating Jeb Bush at His Own Game
Proving he still won’t be letting politicians off easy at his new gig, Colbert was not pleased when Jeb Bush, one of his first night’s guests, tried to make some cash for his campaign by raffling off a ticket to that taping. Colbert countered with his own ticket raffle that would send proceeds to veterans’ charity Yellow Ribbon Fund and would also allow the winner to choose a question for Bush (his suggestion: Don’t you wish you consulted Stephen before launching your contest?).

stephen colber colbrew

Ben and Jerry’s Americone Dream? That was so Comedy Central-era Colbert. Now the “Late Show” host has struck a deal to plaster his face on limited-edition bottles of Stumptown Coffee Roasters drinks. Street teams in New York City will be handing the bottles out for free on the day of the premiere.

Mobile Campaigns
Going after the young and/or driving audience, “Late Show” has announced campaigns with Snapchat and Waze. For each of the five days leading into the premiere, Colbert will post a new video message exclusively for Snapchat users. He will also be making commuters’ lives a little funnier by offering driving directions and commentary through Sept. 22 on the Waze app.

Colbert’s last name lends itself to so many puns, but not all of them fill him with fear. “Colbert Report” had a running gag of the host warning viewers of bears, which made some journalists especially amused by the gummy treats handed out ahead of his TCA panel for “Late Show.” There, Colbert stressed that bears are no laughing matter.

“I saw the movie ‘Man in the Wilderness’ with Richard Harris when I was a child,” he said at the panel. “He is mauled nearly to death by a grizzly bear and then buried alive by the other pioneers in the wagon train. I was so nervous the next morning that I went to my father, who was a doctor, and I said, ‘Dad, I’m really scared’ because I had to walk through the woods to get to the bus stop. And did my father say, ‘There are no bears within 200 miles of our house?’ No. He said, ‘Oh, modern medicine. We’d sew you right up.’ So I’ve had a lifetime honest to God, if something is going bad in my life, I dream about bears.”

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