The Best Episodes of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Improv actor and comic Stephen Colbert leaves his "The Colbert Report" character behind as he makes his long-awaited return to television. As the host of The Late Show franchise redux -- taped at the historic Ed Sullivan Theatre at New York -- Colbert talks to actors, athletes, politicians, comics, artists and musicians as himself for the first time. Loyal fans, however, will also be treated to consistency as Colbert remains backed by many members of his writing and digital team from his former venture. Julliard-trained Jon Batiste serves as the bandleader.

RNC, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Saunders, Ron Suskind

#1 - RNC, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Saunders, Ron Suskind

Season 1 - Episode 178

star 8.07
82 votes
RNC, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Billy Eichner, Cory Kahaney

#2 - RNC, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Billy Eichner, Cory Kahaney

Season 1 - Episode 181

Broadcast live all week. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and actor Billy Eichner.

star 7.97
90 votes
Anna Kendrick, Mahershala Ali, Chris Gethard

#3 - Anna Kendrick, Mahershala Ali, Chris Gethard

Season 2 - Episode 44

Stephen welcomes Anna Kendrick, Mahershala Ali, and Chris Gethard.

star 7.89
35 votes
Eddie Redmayne, Senator Bernie Sanders, Alton Brown, Chris Thile

#4 - Eddie Redmayne, Senator Bernie Sanders, Alton Brown, Chris Thile

Season 2 - Episode 43

Stephen welcomes Eddie Redmayne, Senator Bernie Sanders, Alton Brown, and Chris Thile sitting in with Jon Batiste and Stay Human.

star 7.87
61 votes
Mark Ruffalo, John Cleese, Michael Flatley

#5 - Mark Ruffalo, John Cleese, Michael Flatley

Season 1 - Episode 44

Stephen welcomes actor Mark Ruffalo, actor John Cleese, plus an interview with and performance by Michael Flatley.

star 7.75
53 votes
Daniel Craig, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dr. Eugenia Cheng

#6 - Daniel Craig, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dr. Eugenia Cheng

Season 1 - Episode 37

Stephen welcomes actor Daniel Craig, author Elizabeth Gilbert, plus an interview with and demonstration by Dr. Eugenia Cheng.

star 7.73
48 votes
Rachel Weisz, Kevin Smith, Spike Feresten

#7 - Rachel Weisz, Kevin Smith, Spike Feresten

Season 1 - Episode 197

Stephen welcomes Rachel Weisz, filmmaker Kevin Smith, and Spike Feresten.

star 7.72
39 votes
Amy Schumer, Stephen King, Troubled Waters (Paul Simon)

#8 - Amy Schumer, Stephen King, Troubled Waters (Paul Simon)

Season 1 - Episode 4

Stephen welcomes comedian Amy Schumer, author Stephen King, plus an interview with and performance by Troubled Waters.

star 7.70
108 votes
Ben Stiller, Bernie Sanders, Tao: Seventeen Samurai

#9 - Ben Stiller, Bernie Sanders, Tao: Seventeen Samurai

Season 1 - Episode 90

Stephen welcomes Ben Stiller, Senator Bernie Sanders, and a performance by Tao: Seventeen Samurai.

star 7.70
46 votes
Vice President Joe Biden, Travis Kalanick, Toby Keith

#10 - Vice President Joe Biden, Travis Kalanick, Toby Keith

Season 1 - Episode 3

Stephen welcomes Vice President Joe Biden, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, plus a musical performance by Toby Keith.

star 7.69
97 votes
Sean Penn, Sutton Foster, Regina Spektor

#11 - Sean Penn, Sutton Foster, Regina Spektor

Season 2 - Episode 16

Stephen welcomes Sean Penn, Sutton Foster, and a musical performance by Regina Spektor.

star 7.68
47 votes
John Oliver, Evan Spiegel, Bill Withers, Ed Sheeran

#12 - John Oliver, Evan Spiegel, Bill Withers, Ed Sheeran

Season 1 - Episode 17

Stephen welcomes John Oliver, founder of Snapchat Evan Spiegel, plus an interview with singer-songwriter Bill Withers and a performance by Ed Sheeran.

star 7.68
75 votes
Tracee Ellis Ross, Andrew Rannells, Mac Miller & Anderson .Paak

#13 - Tracee Ellis Ross, Andrew Rannells, Mac Miller & Anderson .Paak

Season 2 - Episode 8

Stephen welcomes Tracee Ellis Ross, Andrew Rannells, and a musical performance by Mac Miller & Anderson .Paak.

star 7.67
36 votes
Tim Cook, Jake Gyllenhaal, Run The Jewels with TV On The Radio

#14 - Tim Cook, Jake Gyllenhaal, Run The Jewels with TV On The Radio

Season 1 - Episode 6

Stephen welcomes actor Jake Gyllenhaal, Apple CEO Tim Cook, plus a performance by Run the Jewels with TV on the Radio.

star 7.66
92 votes
Donald Trump, Dr. Ernest Moniz, Raury

#15 - Donald Trump, Dr. Ernest Moniz, Raury

Season 1 - Episode 11

Stephen welcomes Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz, plus a musical performance by Raury.

star 7.65
103 votes
Hugh Laurie, Paul Reiser, Nate Silver

#16 - Hugh Laurie, Paul Reiser, Nate Silver

Season 2 - Episode 27

Stephen welcomes Hugh Laurie, Paul Reiser, and Nate Silver.

star 7.65
57 votes
Seth MacFarlane, Neil DeGrasse Tyson

#17 - Seth MacFarlane, Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Season 1 - Episode 33

Stephen welcomes musical guest Seth MacFarlane and astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

star 7.65
68 votes
Robert De Niro, Daniel Gilbert, Henry Rollins

#18 - Robert De Niro, Daniel Gilbert, Henry Rollins

Season 1 - Episode 60

Stephen welcomes actor Robert De Niro, author Daniel Gilbert, plus an interview with and comical music performance by Henry Rollins.

star 7.64
39 votes
Bill Clinton, Billy Eichner, Florence & the Machine

#19 - Bill Clinton, Billy Eichner, Florence & the Machine

Season 1 - Episode 21

Stephen welcomes Former President Bill Clinton, comic Billy Eichner, plus a musical performance by Florence and the Machine.

star 7.64
72 votes
Lupita Nyong’o, Sen. Bernie Sanders, An American in Paris (Christopher Wheeldon, Robert Fairchild, Leanne Cope)

#20 - Lupita Nyong’o, Sen. Bernie Sanders, An American in Paris (Christopher Wheeldon, Robert Fairchild, Leanne Cope)

Season 1 - Episode 9

Stephen welcomes Lupita Nyong’o, Senator Bernie Sanders, plus an interview with and performance by “An American in Paris’” Christopher Wheeldon, Robert Fairchild, and Leanne Cope

star 7.64
94 votes
RNC, Keegan-Michael Key, Kathryn Hahn, Jenny Lewis & NAF

#21 - RNC, Keegan-Michael Key, Kathryn Hahn, Jenny Lewis & NAF

Season 1 - Episode 179

Broadcast live all week. Actor Keegan-Michael Key; actress Kathryn Hahn; NAF performs.

star 7.63
73 votes
Olivia Wilde, Christiane Amanpour, Jon Batiste & Stay Human

#22 - Olivia Wilde, Christiane Amanpour, Jon Batiste & Stay Human

Season 1 - Episode 89

Stephen welcomes Olivia Wilde, Christiane Amanpour, and a musical performance by Jon Batiste & Stay Human.

star 7.63
35 votes
President Barack Obama, Bill O'Reilly, Randall Park, Bob Weir

#23 - President Barack Obama, Bill O'Reilly, Randall Park, Bob Weir

Season 2 - Episode 25

Stephen welcomes President Barack Obama, Bill O'Reilly, Randall Park, and a musical performance by Bob Weir.

star 7.62
64 votes
First Lady Michelle Obama, America Ferrera

#24 - First Lady Michelle Obama, America Ferrera

Season 2 - Episode 11

Stephen welcomes First Lady Michelle Obama, and America Ferrera.

star 7.62
55 votes
Mandy Patinkin, Kayvon Beykpour, Leon Bridges

#25 - Mandy Patinkin, Kayvon Beykpour, Leon Bridges

Season 1 - Episode 62

Stephen welcomes actor Mandy Patinkin, Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour, plus a musical performance by Leon Bridges.

star 7.62
50 votes