KAHANE CORN COOPERMAN(field producer, later co-executive producer, 1996-2015):
I produced a field piece, with Stacey Grenrock Woods as the correspondent, about a guy, Alexander P., who had been a rock star in Ukraine and came here and was now a waiter in a hotel restaurant in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This piece may well have been in the works before Jon arrived. But it airs, and after the show you have a postmortem. And Jon was not happy. He said, “Your targets are just wrong. They shouldn’t be people on the fringe. Our targets need to be the people who have a voice, and that’s politicians, and that’s the media.”
STACEY GRENROCK WOODS(correspondent, 1998-2003):
I heard Jon was very unhappy with that piece, and I don’t blame him at all. I didn’t like it, either, but it was given to me. I think it ended up being a policy-changing piece.
“Hopefully the process is to spot things that would be grist for the funny mill,” Mr. Stewart, 45, said. “In some respects, the heavier subjects are the ones that are most loaded with opportunity because they have the most — you know, the difference between potential and kinetic energy? — they have the most potential energy, so to delve into that gives you the largest combustion, the most interest. I don’t mean for the audience. I mean for us. Everyone here is working too hard to do stuff we don’t care about.”
You helped launch The Colbert Report. Stephen is going to drop the character when he moves to The Late Show, so what will he bring that people haven’t seen?
A raging drug habit.
People have no idea. It’s going to be Breaking Colbert.
I will tune in for that.
Stephen’s talent is very apparent to everybody, but if you’d been to his 50th-birthday party and you saw the love bomb he was surrounded in — I said to my wife, “I will guarantee you this party spawns a thousand arguments on the drive home.” Everybody got in the car that night with their spouse and it was, “Why don’t you love me like people love Stephen?!” Or, “Why can’t you be a kindhearted and good individual like Stephen Colbert!?” It was one of those magical nights, filled with the warmth and affection of friends and family. I just think viewers are really going to enjoy getting to know Stephen.
That’s strange, because I had heard Colbert’s birthday party was at Scores.