Stephen Colbert tests positive for COVID, tonight’s Late Show canceled

You'll have to get your fix of Colbert talking to Jason Bateman elsewhere, sadly

Stephen Colbert tests positive for COVID, tonight’s Late Show canceled
Stephen Colbert Photo: Rich Fury

Tonight’s broadcast of CBS’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert has been canceled, Deadline reports, after host Stephen Colbert tested positive for COVID-19. Colbert reported that he’s feeling “basically fine,” and issued the now-standard note of gratitude for being vaxxed and boosted to help ameliorate at least some of the effects of the disease.

As Colbert joked in a tweet announcing the cancellation, tonight’s episode of his show was supposed to be focused on Netflix’s Ozark, with him set to interview both Laura Linney and the dreaded Jason Bateman. As-is, the show will instead air a rerun, allowing audiences to revisit some past moments with America’s favorite finger-snapping Grimace, Josh Brolin. (Also: The Who!)

Late Show was already set to go on hiatus next week so it’s easy to imagine that the show will be ready to return for its next scheduled air date of new episodes, May 2. Really, it’s just the latest evolution in late night’s long response to the COVID pandemic, which had an especially strong impact on a genre of shows set to broadcast nightly to national audiences. Colbert, like most late-night hosts, took his show out of the studio in 2020 to lower the chances of the disease being passed between crew (and guests). He eventually returned to studio last year, albeit with regular tests to catch infection.

Which, gosh, but they certainly have: Colbert joins fellow hosts Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and James Corden in having contracted the disease at one point or another. (Ditto Bill Maher.) None appear to have suffered any long-lasting effects from the disease, a trend that will hopefully continue with Colbert. The former Comedy Central star remains the top-rated comic in late night; his numbers typically float just a bit above those of Jimmy Kimmel (apparently the last-man standing, contracting-COVID-wise) and far ahead of Jimmy Fallon at NBC.

 
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