Our Favorite Moments From Stephen Colbert's Late Night Debut — Plus More of Our All-Time Favorites
As much as we were hoping for a woman to replace David Letterman on the "Late Show," I think we can all agree that Stephen Colbert is at least a major improvement. Colbert is a feminist and a freaking funny one at that. Even though last night's premiere of the "Late Show" with Colbert wasn't terribly female-centric, moments like these make us hopeful for the future of the "Late Show."
1. When He Featured The Great Mavis Staples [Clip]
Last night's "Late Show" did feature two male guests — Jeb Bush and George Clooney — but at least Colbert closed the show by giving one seriously powerful lady the spotlight. The show's closing number was a high-energy rendition of "Everyday People" by Colbert’s house band, Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard, Buddy Guy, Ben Folds, Aloe Blacc, Derek Trucks, Colbert himself, and most importantly, Mavis Staples. Mavis Staples is a legendary blues and gospel singer, actress, and civil rights activist. Colbert made sure you knew who the star was (as if it wasn't obvious), and "my good friend, the great Mavis Staples," was Colbert's closing line on the night.
2. When He Promised to Lean In on the "Late Show"
"I'm here for you, and that means I’m going to do my best to create a 'Late Show' that not only appeals to women but also celebrates their voices. These days TV would have you believe that being a woman means sensually eating yogurt, looking for ways to feel confident on heavy days, and hunting for houses. But I'm going to make a show that truly respects women, because I know that there's more than one way to be one. Maybe you're a woman who likes women. Maybe you like women and men. Maybe you're a woman who's recently transitioned. Maybe you're a guy who's reading this magazine because your girlfriend bought a copy and it looked interesting. Whoever you are, I promise: I'm going to lean in on this. It really accentuates my muffin top." (Glamour)
3. When He Skewered TV's Portrayal of Women
Just last week, Colbert wrote a hilarious but powerful essay in Glamour, promising that his Late Show would champion women — unlike most of television. "It has been pointed out to me that I, like other late-night TV hosts, am a man. And while I'm happy to have a job, I am surprised that the world of late-night TV lacks a female presence, unlike sitcoms, which are packed with smoking-hot wives who teach their doughy husband a valuable lesson when he slips on a pizza and falls headfirst into a porta-potty full of beer. Check your local listings." (Glamour)
4. When He Delivered Some Real Talk About Commercials [Clip]
"Ladies, are you getting this? Your life is incomplete if you're not bathing in cake. And these products don't just make you look good enough to eat — they make you edible. And isn't making women into a consumable product what the beauty industry is all about? Because once you smell like you had a three-way with the Keebler Elf and Cookiepuss, men will eat you up."
5. When He Made Arguments Against Birth Control Sound As Stupid As They Really Are [Clip]
*Sarcasm alert* "This is an outrage! A woman’s health decisions are a private matter between her priest and her husband ... If we give your daughters and granddaughters access to birth control, they will instantly turn into wanton harlots with an insatiable sexual appetite. Because you know women — they're always on the edge of nymphomaniacal orgiastic abandon! They'll pick up the prescription, pop a pill, then bone the pharmacist, the stock boy, and everybody in line for the bus. Why? Because the birth control was paid for by the government."
6. When He Eulogized His Mother [Clip]
Colbert actually broke character on "The Colbert Report" for this moving tribute to his mother. I dare you not to cry. "If you watch this show and you like this show, that's because of everybody who works here and I'm lucky to be one of them. But if you watch the show and you also like me, that's because of my mom." Last night, Colbert opened by mentioning his mom again, proudly displaying the pennant she received for attending Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech.
7. When He Told Off A Blogger Claiming That Pay Inequality Is Good For Women [Clip]
*More sarcasm* "Be honest women — you like guys that earn more than you. Same way you like them to open doors or give up their seat on the bus you're riding because you can't afford a car ... To help women, we may need to increase the pay gap. 77 cents to the dollar is a good start, but we can do better. Why not 50 cents on the dollar? Or, call me a radical feminist, but maybe women shouldn't be paid at all."
8. When He Got Serious about Girls' Education [Clip]
When making a promo video for the Global Citizenship Festival, Colbert used it to promote a single cause: girls' education. "Here's the cause that means the most to me: girls' education. You see, growing up I knew many girls. My mother was a girl once. And I believe giving girls access to equal education worldwide is not only the right thing to do, but saying so might make Beyonce like me."
9. When He Pitied Poor Untrained San Diego Mayor Bob Filner [Clip]
"Wait. We have an Oppressed White Man alert! ... That's right, it's true. It is San Diego's fault that Bob Filner harassed those women because he wasn't properly trained. It's the same way it would be their fault if he killed someone because they never provided proper 'Don't Murder' training."
10. When He Destroyed This Idiotic Marriage Advice [Clip]
In 2012, ridiculous person and Fox News columnist Suzanne Venker wrote about why men no longer want to get married. In a nutshell, women’s liberation has rightly pissed men off, it's our fault there are fewer eligible men, and women need to "surrender to their nature — their femininity — and let men surrender to theirs." In character, Colbert agrees: "But ladies, you can do more by doing less. Maybe stop voting. Or stop talking, that's mysterious. I mean, what are you girls thinking? Follow Miss Venker's advice and you single gals will finally be able to live out every woman’s wildest dream — marrying a man who doesn't want you to achieve anything."
Photo Credit: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS via Getty Images