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Long IslandColumnistsEllis Henican

Stephen Colbert inherits 'Late Show,' and so can you? Not these hosts

Stephen Colbert, host of

Stephen Colbert, host of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central, will succeed David Letterman as the new host of the "Late Show" beginning in 2015. Photo Credit: AP / Comedy Central, Martin Crook

That was quick.

The epic struggle to replace David Letterman on the CBS "Late Show" lasted exactly one week. A week ago Thursday, Dave said he'd be vacating his host chair after 21 years. This past Thursday, CBS announced that Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert was getting the gig -- not Craig Ferguson, not Chelsea Handler, not Conan O'Brien, not Jon Stewart, not Seth Meyers, not John Oliver, not Louis CK, not Arsenio Hall and not any of the other morning chat hosts, cable talking heads or medium-market weathercasters who made their availability uncomfortably clear.

Some of those names were never plausibly in the running, deep-sixed by rotten ratings or contract handcuffs. But what do you say when you don't get the gig, especially if it's a gig you really wanted and know if your heart you deserved? We've all been also-rans for some job!

If you're smart, you do what these did. You fly immediately in praise mode.

"The lovely Stephen Colbert . . . a fine addition to the CBS cavalcade of stars," said Craig Ferguson of "The Late Late Show," who'd have certainly been willing to drop one of his lates.

"A perfect replacement," agreed NBC "Late Night" host Seth Myers.

But it was Jimmy Fallon, the new "Tonight Show" host, who added just the right dash of competitive condescension to all the late-night graciousness.

"Welcome," he told his NBC audience. "I am your host Jimmy Fallon. But I have a big announcement. Starting in 2015, I will be the new host of 'The Colbert Report' on Comedy Central."

As if.


1. I'm in line for something bigger.

2. I didn't want it anyway.

3. We couldn't come to terms.

4. I only applied as a favor.

5. I just needed the interview practice.

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: A holdup knife and a getaway bike? Is Nassau Boulevard now in for a rash of green-armed robberies? Thursday night's 24-year-old victim doesn't care. He just wants his wallet back . . . After all we've heard about dreary weather and dark moods, how did spring become peak suicide season? "It's counterintuitive," says LI Crisis Center director Theresa Buhse . . . Now that a dash-cam video has exonerated a Lawrence man who collided with a federal Customs van near Kennedy Airport (yes, the arrow was green on Rockaway Boulevard) -- are more drivers to seek the video alibi helpers . . . Five Suffolk school districts may try to pierce the cap? Isn't that awfully violent language for a school-budget proposal? . . . Which artist will the K-to-second-graders sing a tribute to next year at Glen Cove's Deasy Elementary School? A pressing question since Billy Joel popped into the Billy Joel tribute . . . Yes, it's a crime. Yes, they caught him on video. But does Suffolk Crime Stoppers really need to go all out ("cash reward up to $5,000"!) in pursuit of a man who stole baby formula from a Huntington Station Rite Aid?

THE NEWS IN SONG You're the only one I need: Any Trouble's "Second Choice,"


It's a very good month for Ervin Drake. The great American songwriter ("It Was a Very Good Year," "I Believe," etc., etc.) and six-decade Great Neck resident turned 95 on April 3. On Friday night, April 25, his extraordinary songbook is being honored at Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington by some of his greatest interpreters including Steve Ross, Christine Lavin, KT Sullivan, Leslie Uggams -- no, cabaret doesn't get much more star-studded than this. MC Charles Grodin has been hyping hard on Ray Bertolino and John LeBoutillier's "Conversations" show on WHPC/90.3. And it's all a fundraiser for the Gold Coast Arts Center and Landmark on Main. Homegrown talent, indeed!

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