After a two-week vacation, Stephen Colbert returned to The Late Show stage on Tuesday night. And while much has happened in his absence—“there was continuing plague, war, floods, fires,” according to the host—there was really only one thing on viewers’ minds: What was that fuzzy white thing perched dangerously close to Colbert’s upper lip? Turns out, Colbert grew a mustache… or at least what he claims to be a mustache. He knew his viewers had a lot of questions, and took a proactive move in answering them:
“I’m sure you all have a lot of questions, like: Why? And: Really? And: Really, why? Well, it’s kind of a complicated story. I went on a vacation, and I didn’t shave. And then I shave this part of down here. Now, the reverse Abe Lincoln here has not gone over well with some—or so far, any. For example, my executive producer Chris, who is almost angry at my face right now.”
When Colbert asked Chris whether his fear was that the new facial hair was going to lose them viewers, his response was a confident: “Undoubtedly.”
Meanwhile, Twitter was indeed talking about Colbert’s new facial accouterment—and there were a variety of opinions, none of them a straight-up positive review. Some people just told it like it is: “Colbert’s mustache looks like he ate a powdered doughnut.”
Colbert's mustache looks like he ate a powdered doughnut. #LateNight
— Arin Simon (@arintaylor36) September 8, 2021
Others simply begged the host to shave. Now: “Here to say I despise Stephen Colbert’s mustache. Well, ALL mustaches, really.”
Here to say I despise Stephen Colbert’s mustache. Well, ALL mustaches, really. @Stephenathome, please shave immediately.
— Gale Cady Williams (@CadyGale) September 8, 2021
While one person was truly angry: “Stephen Colbert with a mustache should be illegal and it makes me irrationally angry!! And I simply want to scream and throw a tantrum over this because there is already too much instability in my life rn!! And I just have so many questions. But the most important one is WHY??!!”
Stephen Colbert with a mustache should be illegal and it makes me irrationally angry!! And i simply want to scream and through a tantrum over this because there is already to much instability in my life rn!! And i just have so many questions. But the most important one is WHY??!!
— non-binary babe (@elliotalxander) September 8, 2021
Others used memes to express their indifference:
One person, in what might have been a compliment, likened him to a broadcasting icon: “Stephen Colbert looks like Walter Cronkite with his mustache.”
Stephen Colbert looks like Walter Cronkite with his mustache. pic.twitter.com/9vF9rYyWIB
— Millard Fillmore White House Library (@FillmoreWhite) September 8, 2021
But not all the comments were negative: “Do I only like Stephen Colbert’s mustache because I’m gay?”
Do I only like Stephen Colbert’s mustache because I’m gay?
— Scott Embler (@scottembler) September 8, 2021
Something tells us Colbert’s ‘stache will be a short-lived experiment—especially if his executive producer has anything to say about it.