Stephen Colbert decided “flip the script” for The Late Show‘s pre-filmed Thanksgiving break episode on Tuesday, moving to the guest’s chair and answering questions from former Daily Show collaborator Jon Stewart. The former satirical news king jokingly introduced his friend as “the host of The Late Show on CBS…for now” before a ramshackle interview that bounced from old Daily Show gags (Colbert impersonating Reverend Al Sharpton) to meeting pre-politics Donald Trump.
First, Stewart started with “what’s on the cards,” asking (Michael Scott-style), “Who the fuck do you think you are?” Colbert fired back, teasing his interviewer for his normal guy wardrobe (“Thank you for dressing up”). The duo reminisced about the Sharpton bit, in which Colbert answered questions intended for the reverend after he backed out of a Daily Show appearance.
“Two weeks before it was released worldwide, I had a ticket to a pre-screening of The Fellowship of the Ring,” Colbert, a noted Lord of the Rings obsessive recalled. “And I put my hand on th door to leave The Daily Show” before being called back in for the bit. “It was so brilliant,” Stewart joked, “that Al Sharpton’s Action Network actually then asked Stephen to take over.”
After reminiscing, Stewart pivoted to current events. “Donald Trump: great president or greatest president?” he asked, mischievously. “I think great president,” Colbert responded. “There’s nothing else other than ‘great’ or ‘greatest’?” The host-turned-guest then recalled meeting then-citizen Trump backstage at either Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night or Tonight Show.
“[Trump] was like, ‘Nice to meet you. Congratulations on the show,’” he said. “He wasn’t blustery at all. He’s got that gear of ‘some guy you’d see some place.’ And he was like, ‘Let’s take a picture – he was all ready to take a picture.’ And orange like you couldn’t believe.”
Colbert couldn’t resist shifting back to interviewer, closing the segment by asking Stewart whether he regrets stepping out of the satire game before Trump’s election. “Working at The Daily Show, I felt as though I was toiling in the turd mines, and then I finally quit and a giant turd astroid heads toward the planet,” Stewart said. “In that instance, if someone said, ‘Hey, you were a turd miner – this is the largest turd deposit ever seen. Don’t you wish you were in there?’ And you’re just like, ‘I’m out of the turd business. I’m out.’”