April 23, 2014 at 2:02 AM ET
David Letterman, the king of late-night comedy, welcomed the heir to his throne when Stephen Colbert visited the "Late Show" Tuesday night.
"He just dropped by to sign the lease," Letterman quipped during his opening monologue. "He'll be taking over the show sometime next year -- pending the physical."
Letterman gave his successor a hearty welcome and his seal of approval.
"You look good — you look right at home," he said when Colbert — who'd swapped his usual rimless specs for some swanky tortoiseshell frames — joined him onstage.
"I'm thrilled and honored to be taking over for you," Colbert said, after Letterman dissuaded him from his plan to "do whatever you have done" and the two self-deprecatingly labeled themselves as "boobs."
"Every boob is like a snowflake, Dave," Colbert said. "We're all unique in our own way."
Colbert left another "boob" — his comic conservative persona — with the Colbert Nation when he appeared at the Ed Sullivan theater.
He also revealed that this wasn't the first time he was offered a job at the "Late Show."
In 1986, when his college girlfriend landed an internship interview with the late-night show, Colbert tagged along to keep her company — but was approached by a staffer.
"I got the internship, she did not," Colbert revealed. "The relationship did not last."
Nor did the internship — he turned them down. When Dave asked why, he didn't miss a beat.
"Because you did not pay people! It's an expensive city."
Suddenly, Colbert look worried: "The next job I'm taking here — that pays, right?" he asked his host. "Because I've already signed."
He also sought clarification about his new start date, pointing out that his kids are nervous about him having too much free time after "The Colbert Report" bows at the end of this year.
"When are you leaving?" he asked Letterman, who apparently doesn't know himself. "I should've asked!"
Timing issues have been a pattern in Colbert's "Late Show" career.
When the show was hiring writers in 1987, Colbert and his writing partner, Paul Dinello, submitted a writing sample — but it took the Letterman folks four months to respond. By then, their series "Strangers With Candy" had been picked up.
Their efforts weren't entirely wasted: Colbert unearthed the Top 10 list they submitted and brought it to the show — on his own blue cards.
"You've come prepared," Letterman praised — but then scolded Paul Shaffer and the band for teeing up Colbert's list with the show's usual intro.
"Wait a minute, he doesn't get that yet," Dave exclaimed to his bandleader. "He doesn't have the job yet … what are you doing over here? Good heavens!"
Colbert's holiday-themed list — Top 10 Cocktails for Santa (because Kris Kringle needs something stronger than milk and cookies) — is a worthy addition to the show's opus:
10. Rusty Blintzen: One ounce of scotch, one ounce Drambuie, twist of venison
9. Mama Said Nog You Out: Three fingers of eggnog, one finger of ether
8. Pa Rum Pa Rum Rum: Open can of fruit cocktail and two ounces rum (enjoy responsibly)
7. Vodka Giblet: One part vodka, any part turkey organ
6. Scrooge Driver: Grain alcohol and regret
5. No Room at the Gin: Chill martini glass, fill with gin until there is no room for anything else
4. On Comet, On Cupid, On Dasher, Wine Spritzer!
3. King of the Juice: Any available juice, any available liquor, wedge of matzo
2. Jack Frost: Equal parts Jack Daniels and snow (seasonal)
1. Silent Nighttrain
"All your jokes are explained," Letterman marveled. "We gave up on that back in '97."
2015 will see the dawn of a whole new era of jokes, and Letterman enthusiastically endorsed his replacement — even requesting to pose for one of Colbert's signature selfies.
"is this still what people do?" he asked Colbert, who quipped, "No, this is actually very retro now."
Colbert's appearance ended with a symbolic changing of the guard.
"Ladies and gentlemen, here he is — it's the new kid," Letterman announced, wishing Colbert, "Good luck to you and your family, good luck with the show."