• 03.01.16

Last Night’s “Colbert” Show Began With a Somber Spike Jonze Film

Since he was already on the show anyway, Spike Jonze made a short film for Stephen Colbert to use in place of the usual opening credits.

“My guest tonight had an idea on how to start the show in a different way,” reads a caption at the beginning of last night’s Late Show With Stephen Colbert. When your guest is cerebral cinematic adventurer, Spike Jonze, you listen to that idea.


Instead of the usual opening credits, the February 29 episode of Colbert began with a mood piece that presents the host adrift in ennui. The accurately titled A Short Film By Spike Jonze begins with Colbert waking up in the middle of Central Park, looking rumpled in a green winter jacket. He walks through Manhattan looking more alone and sullen than we’ve ever seen him before, accompanied by a slowed-down version of the usual theme song on tinkly piano keys. Things turn around, however, when an unlikely friendship with a little blue friend makes our guy a little less blue.

This short film, which aired around Colbert’s 100th episode on CBS, makes a good case for bringing more experimental filmmakers on more late night talk shows–and making them work once they get there.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.