Jon Stewart’s stunning announcement that he was leaving The Daily Show left many Colbert Report fans – including Star Wars creator George Lucas – wondering whether Stephen Colbert would have taken that gig instead of David Letterman’s The Late Show if Colbert had known of Stewart’s impending departure. In a discussion with Lucas at the Tribeca Film Festival Friday, Colbert made it clear that hosting The Daily Show was never in his plans, Deadline reports.
“Don’t you think the perfect choice to replace that Jon Stewart fella would have been you? And now you’re working at Late Show where nobody sees you,” Lucas asked. “Who stays up past 1 a.m.?” Colbert responded, “I love it when people ask ‘Why are you going into late night?’ I was on at 11:30 p.m., I’m moving to 11:35 p.m. I’ll have an extra cup of coffee to stay up an extra five minutes.”
Besides the extra cup of coffee, Colbert felt he couldn’t follow in the footsteps of Stewart’s The Daily Show legacy. “I don’t want to be the guy who takes over for Jon Stewart. I’ve worked with him, and my memories of him is that he’s the keenest, most intelligent, most beautifully deconstructive mind — the clearest thinker I ever worked for,” Colbert said of his former Comedy Central coworker. “I would never get underneath his shadow. Someone else who doesn’t love him as much might have a better time on that show than I ever would.”
Colbert was also complimentary of incoming Daily Show host Trevor Noah, calling the South African comedian “a very funny guy.” One thing Colbert didn’t discuss: What he had planned for when he takes over The Late Show on September 8th.
Colbert’s quick humor was on display throughout his conversation with Lucas. At one point, the filmmaker described his own films’ dialogue as “wooden,” to which Colbert, a lifelong Star Wars fan, said, “It’s not wooden, it’s hand-carved dialogue.” At one point, after Lucas sneezed, Colbert said, “May the force be with you.” Lucas himself was a guest of both Colbert Report and The Daily Show, appearing during the former’s series finale sing-along and the latter’s recent Fox News-mocking segment.