One of the joys of Stephen Colbert’s show – and Stephen Colbert in general – is that he’s such a theatre nerd. Unlike most of his late-night brethren, who hail from the world of stand-up, Colbert’s background is on the stage, which often peeks out in his sketches and monologue (but casually, not in that obnoxious James Corden way; you know Corden was one of those dudes who’d sing “Seasons of Love” at the drop of a hat, just to show off). And on last night’s Late Show, Colbert used a theatrical classic to puncture one of the many upsetting elements of the current Republican administration.
Decked out in the traditional well-worn clothes, Colbert (sporting a killer fake beard) and guest Patrick Stewart took on the roles of Vladimir and Estragon in a riff on Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. But instead of an absurdist interval awaiting a figure who will never appear, the two men are seeking an even more elusive guest: President Trump’s Obamacare replacement plan.
“Why hasn’t it come already?” asks Stewart.
“He said it was more complicated than anyone thought!” Colbert replies.
And so on, up through an ingenious spin on the play’s iconic closing line (“Yes, let’s go”) that sends up both the health care system and Stewart’s most famous role. Check it out:
For further viewing, here’s Stewart and Ian McKellen in/discussing an actual production of Waiting for Godot they did on Broadway back in 2013: