Credit: CBS

On Tuesday night’s premiere episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, new host Stephen Colbert packed in a lot of show. In addition to introducing viewers to the newly renovated Ed Sullivan Theater and interviewing both George Clooney and Jeb Bush, Colbert paid tribute to his predecessor and comedy idol, David Letterman.

Since he was first announced as the new host of The Late Show, Colbert said he “never dreamed” he would follow in David Letterman’s footsteps and insisted that “everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead.”

Colbert was full of sincerity and kind words Tuesday night, as he thanked Letterman for the groundwork he set in comedy.

“The comedy landscape is so thickly planted with the forest of Dave’s ideas that we sometimes need to remind ourselves just how tall he stands,” Colbert said.

The host assured us he’s not replacing Letterman, but that he’s hoping to honor and build upon the work that Letterman started 33 years ago, when Colbert was just starting college.

“We will try to honor his achievement by doing the best show we can and occasionally making the network very mad at us,” Colbert said.

CBS CEO Les Moonves then slyly reminded Colbert that he was still keeping tabs on him, pushing The Mentalist re-run switch he wielded from the audience.

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The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
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