‘Late Show’ coming to Chicago for DNC this summer

Stephen Colbert to bring his late-night show to town

A late-night network show is visiting Chicago for the first time in years with Stephen Colbert bringing his Late Show to the Chicago Auditorium Theater from August 19th to the 22nd, coinciding with the Democratic National Convention at the United Center.

“I lived in Chicago for 11 years, and it holds a special place in my heart — and not because of all the Polish sausage lodged in my aorta,” Colbert joked Wednesday. “Chicago is where I cut my teeth performing at the Second City, and it’s also where this South Carolina boy got an education in winter. Did you know that tears can freeze?”

In a follow-up statement, Colbert said “I am very excited to broadcast from the beautiful Auditorium. I started my career in Chicago, let’s see if I can end it there” (a claim numerous Chicago Bears quarterbacks have made.) 

Colbert performed at Second City in the early 1990s and became a correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show which birthed The Colbert Report, a send-up of conservative opinion shows. Colbert has been the host of CBS’ The Late Show since 2015. 

This is the seventh time in the modern media era (since 1948) that Chicago is hosting a political convention and the first since 1996, also held at the United Center. Unlike 1996’s mostly quiet convention, this year’s DNC has the potential to explode due to political infighting in the Democratic Party and a raging war in the Middle East, setting up a possible repeat of the raucous 1968 convention here. 

Details about the four shows, including guests, tickets, and taping times are yet to be announced, but the show did go live during the 2016 and 2020 political conventions. The Republican National Convention is being held in Milwaukee from July 15-18, but The Late Show is staying in New York City and doing live shows. CBS airs The Late Show after local stations’ late newscasts. 

The last time a late-night show was taped in Chicago was when The Daily Show and former host Trevor Noah were in town during the Trump administration. The first visit from a late-night host was in 1989 when then-Late Night host David Letterman came to town for a week’s worth of memorable shows. As the first host of CBS’ Late Show, Letterman returned to Chicago on November 15, 1996 for a one-night visit, and Conan O’Brien taped four shows at the Chicago Theatre in May 2006. Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel had a verbal agreement for Jimmy Fallon to tape a few shows in Chicago around a decade ago, but nothing ever came out of it.


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