After taking a couple of years off, Robert De Niro returned in 2019 in a big way. He re-teamed with Martin Scorsese in The Irishman for Netflix, and despite being a three-and-a-half-hour movie on a streaming service, it has racked up numerous awards and it is poised to make a splash at the Oscars. It will likely join The Joker, where Todd Phillips — tapping into the Scorsese influences — cast Robert De Niro as a late night talk show host.
Last night, Robert De Niro appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote The Irishman. The thing about De Niro, however, is that he is a notoriously terrible person to interview on late-night shows. He gives one word answers. He’s detached. He barely engages. When he does try and tell a story, he rambles. The UK’s Graham Norton once called De Niro his worst guest. He has been ranked as one of the 10 worst late-night talk show guests ever. De Niro was Jimmy Fallon’s first guest on Late Night back in 2009, and it did not go particularly well.
In light of that reputation, last night on The Late Show, Colbert decided to turn the tables on De Niro. De Niro — using that experience as a talk show host from Joker — sat behind the desk and interviewed Colbert, who was playing De Niro. Colbert gave De Niro the “De Niro treatment” as guest, offering mostly nods, one-word answers, and shrugs. Unsurprisingly, De Niro found it very difficult to interview “De Niro,” but it did make for great late-night tv.