"I gotta tell you, I do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair. Folks, those are some huge shoes to fill and some really big pants," Stephen Colbert said last night of David Letterman's retirement. He was, as is his wont, joking, of course; Colbert himself will inherit "The Late Show" from Letterman in 2015, becoming its second-ever host. But his quip raises a question: Who will replace Colbert, now that "The Colbert Report" is ending?
Comedy Central hasn't made any announcements — understandable, since the gap in their schedule is still almost a year away. But all these late night musical chairs have whetted my appetite for more speculation. Here are a few worthy replacements for that plum 11:30 p.m. slot.
Samantha Bee:"The Colbert Report" was a rousing success for almost 10 years. Since spinning off a performer from "The Daily Show" worked once, why not try it again? Bee is hilarious and she's been on "The Daily Show" forever. She and her husband, fellow correspondent Jason Jones, could do a his-and-hers talk show.
Craig Ferguson: Since Ferguson was passed over for the "Late Show" throne in favor of Colbert, speculation is rampant that he'll depart CBS when his contract is up next year. Maybe he and Colbert can play musical talk shows and Ferguson can slide into Colbert's old slot. A smaller cable audience might be a better fit for him anyway: He's always had a weird take on the hosting gig. His sidekick is a skeleton.
Chris Gethard: "The Chris Gethard Show" is a cult favorite public access show that recently taped a pilot for Comedy Central. The strange, go-for-broke show features live calls from fans, a cast of recurring characters like The Human Fish and, occasionally, peril for the host, who's prone to do things like sit in a vat of ice cream for hours and get freezer burn on his skin. The new hole in Comedy Central's schedule hasn't escaped the show's dedicated fans: #GethardAfterDailyShow is already making the rounds on social media.
Reruns of "The Colbert Report": I would be fine with 10 more years of Colbert, even recycled Colbert.