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Stephen Colbert GQ cover

The new face of The Late Show is now lending his star power to GQ.

For the magazine’s September issue, Stephen Colbert gives his first sit-down interview since bidding farewell to The Colbert Report. Inside the revealing cover story, Colbert discusses his decision to wrap up his Comedy Central run, his future as David Letterman‘s successor, and more.

stephen colbert, gq

Since this is Stephen Colbert we’re talking about, it’s normal to expect an interview with the comedian to produce nothing but laughs. But this time around, he’s also dropping some words of wisdom.

Check out the highlights below.

On taking over The Late Show:

“The show, is Chopped. Late-night shows are Chopped,” Stephen Colbert tells GQ’s Joel Lovell of his approach to the new show. “Who are your guests tonight? Your guests tonight are veal tongue, coffee grounds, and gummy bears. There, make a show…Make an appetizer that appeals to millions of people. That’s what I like. How could you possibly do it? Oh, you bring in your own flavors. Your own house band is another flavor. You have your own flavor. The audience itself is a base dish, like a rice pilaf or something. And then together it’s ‘Oh shit, that’s an actual meal.’ And that’s what every day is like at one of these shows. Something is one thing in the morning, and then by the end of the day it’s a totally different thing. It’s all process.”

On his comedic style:

“I just want to do things that scratch an itch for me. That itch is often something that feels wrong,” Colbert explains. “It’s wrong because it breaks convention or is unexpected or at times uncomfortable. I like that feeling.” Case in point is the viral interview he did on a local Munroe, Michigan show this winter with Eminem. “I don’t know what parts of the interview he, like, truly doesn’t know what the fuck’s going on,” he says. “But yeah, I think there were times when he was genuinely confused.”

On dealing with personal tragedy:

When asked about how he has dealt with the loss of two brothers and his father in a plane crash, and yet arrived here, so genuinely joyful, Colbert takes some time to think about that. “You gotta learn to love the bomb,” he says finally, recalling a saying from Second City director Jeff Michalski that stuck with him. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that’s why. Maybe, I don’t know. That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

On ending The Colbert Report:

“I no longer felt that that model served to address the national mood,” Colbert explains when asked about wrapping up The Colbert Report. “We’re in a different place now. We can stop freaking out that the guy’s middle name is Hussein. What else? Our response to the horror in South Carolina is to take the flag down. That is something I didn’t think was ever going to happen.”

For more, pick up the September issue of GQ on newsstands today.

SOURCE: GQ | PHOTO CREDIT: Sebastian Kim exclusively for GQ

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