Since the Late Show With Stephen Colbert‘s premiere in September, audiences who’ve stuck with it have become familiar with bandleader Jon Batiste’s opening number and the Fernando Livschitz-directed introduction. Like most late-night talk shows, Livschitz’s video emphasizes the city in which the program is based (i.e. New York) and host Stephen Colbert, though Batiste’s tune is highly catchy. Hence why it’s much more mellow rendition in Monday’s Spike Jonze-directed opener is still recognizable despite its slower, less peppy adaptation.
According to the opening scrawl, Jonze — who came on the program to promote the new Viceland channel — suggested he film a new, one-time opener featuring Colbert, the city and a few surprise additions.
My guest tonight had an idea about how to start the show in a different way.
I said, sure, let’s try it.
This is it.
Instead of the original, fast-paced number, Jonze crafted a two and a half minute-long short film in which Colbert wakes up in Central Park. He wanders through the city wearing his trademark suit, albeit covered up with a thicker down jacket. Passersby either ignore or laugh at him, which puts Colbert in a sullen mood until none other than Sesame Street‘s Grover eyes him while reading the paper.
The two walk together, chatting like old friends while the day gets brighter and Batiste’s theme music picks up speed. Then they arrive at the Ed Sullivan Theater, where Colbert enters and finds his audience waiting for him.