Mixing the outrageous and the political is Porter’s métier, and the Tony and Grammy winner, in response to Colbert’s praise of the elaborately fabulous gold and frills ensemble Porter sported for the appearance, explained how his splashy scene-making is as much about statement as spectacle. Asked if fashion can be political, Porter responded, in the affirmative,“especially when it comes to gender.” Thanking Katherine Hepburn alongside Colbert for breaking that whole “women wearing pants” taboo, yet Porter claimed it was beyond time to do the same for men. Calling out the implications in the double standard, Porter told Colbert that, while a woman in pants is seen as powerful (thanks to patriarchal notions that “male” equals “power”), “the minute a man puts on a dress, it’s disgusting.” Pledging to continue his role in busting down that particular dressing room door, Porter exclaimed to a cheering Late Show crowd, “I’m a man in a dress, and if I feel like wearing a dress, I’m gonna wear one!”

While Colbert didn’t change out of his network-standard tie-and-blazer duds right on the spot, he did encourage Porter to “zhuzh” his signature look, a task Porter took to with well-prepared glee. First donning a pair of Porter’s pink rhinestone glasses in place of his own spectacles, Colbert claimed he looked like “a stuntman on Rocketman.” Still, he was more than game to then try on a zebra-striped hat (“You gotta cock that shit to the side,” Porter advised), that Porter said he’d bought for $500 back when he was very broke, leading the duo to strut their stuff to bandleader Jon Batiste’s impromptu runway jam. “Oh my God, I love you,” exclaimed Porter to the happily vogueing Colbert, admiring the host’s confidence, if not his overall fashion sense.