“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” has never backed down from confronting the world’s toughest stories. The series relies on the news and current events, but Colbert knows that his show is not aimed to be journalism. It’s about comedy.

“Job No. 1 is comedy,” Colbert said in the Variety Streaming Room presented by CBS Studios. “People lay a lot on any host who talks about what’s going on today as if we’re news, or if we’re here to instruct people or if we’re here to be a form of Xanax or something. But really, the only reason we went into this was to do comedy.”

Colbert sat down with Variety co-editor in chief Cynthia Littleton to talk about his journey with the late night show throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The show, now in its seventh season, prides itself on its diverse writers room, but tackling comedy in the light of tragic news cycles can prove to be a massive challenge.

“Our self-imposed mandate is, what was everybody talking about today?” Colbert explained. “Unless it is inescapably tragic, we’re going to try to find a way to make a joke about that, because I’m not here to make light of someone else’s tragedy. To make light in the face of tragedy, to give people some lightness in a dark world, that’s a different thing. But of the tragedy itself, that’s not my business. So I want to talk about whatever people are talking about today. In terms of being a divided country and not being able to have the same facts, that’s not new. So the job’s the same.”

Watch the full conversation above.