For nine years, Stephen Colbert assumed a fake persona and stuck with that character, day in and day out. It was something that had almost never been done in television history. Why the spirit moved him to do this, we may never know.
But he did explain how he does it and, perhaps unintentionally, why no one else does it — it's aggressively exhausting.
In a podcast with Slate, he explains his daily routine of consuming the news (it starts the minute he stops filming), going over scripts, watching cable news shows, and endlessly devouring sites like Reddit. And that's just the prep.
Every single minute, every single sketch, every single joke is examined, measured, analyzed.
"Not only do you make your time deadlines, but how much can stay focused on what that script or what that joke is supposed to mean?" he tells Slate's David Plotz. "There's a lot of jokes. Even if we only do 12 to 13 minutes of written material in any night's show, there's a lot — I dunno, 10 jokes a minute?"
It certainly sounds tiring to us.
Here's the podcast: