Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Colbert's Magic Trick: Taming GOP Firebreathers Donald Trump and Ted Cruz

While still being funny, his new show has managed to inject civility into the 2016 campaign.
Donald Trump leaves Colbert's show at Ed Sullivan Theater on Sept. 22, 2015, in New York City.

Donald Trump leaves Colbert's show at Ed Sullivan Theater on Sept. 22, 2015, in New York City.

Photographer: James Devaney/WireImage

On Monday night’s episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the eponymous host, while talking to Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz, did something wonderful, something that seemed like a definitive statement of purpose for his new late-night program: He told his audience to stop booing Ted Cruz.

As Cruz was attempting, with more success than you might think, to come across as moderate and reasonable, Colbert, respectfully, pressed him on an issue on which Cruz is outside the mainstream: Gay marriage. As Cruz tried to explain that it should be an issue for the states, the crowd—like all New York City talk show crowds, not one predisposed to agree with Cruz on much—began to jeer him. Colbert stopped them immediately. “Guys, guys,” he said, waving a firm hand to his audience. “However you feel, he’s my guest. Please don’t boo him.” They stopped immediately. (Relevant moment at the 3:50 mark of this clip.)