Jonze was on-hand to promote the launch of the new Viceland TV network, and pitched Colbert a sequence that, like the Late Show‘s peppy, tilt-shifted theme, still paid tribute to New York City — just not its exhilarating, city-that-never-sleeps side. Instead, Jonze tapped into NYC’s isolating, lonely side, opening his title sequence with a shot of Colbert waking up in a pile of leaves in Central Park.
Set to a slowed-down version of Jon Batiste’s theme, “Humanism,” Colbert wanders New York’s gritty, unforgiving streets, where he’s refused handshakes from strangers and laughed at by two young girls. Only Grover is able to lift the downtrodden host out of his doldrums. The puppet offers Colbert a hand and leads him back to The Late Show studio and his adoring audience. Finally, a smile crosses the host’s face, though it’s still rather Graduate-esque.