Tuesday's premiere of the brand new The Late Show held quite a few pleasant surprises, and some of the best quotes from the Stephen Colbert and Jeb Bush interview were highlights of the night. Colbert's role as host of The Late Show is new territory, as fans eagerly waited to see if, free of his Comedy Central Colbert Report character-driven schtick, the comedian can still draw audiences. But by debuting with guests like George Clooney and a presidential candidate, Colbert was guaranteed to find success on his first night behind the desk.
It also helps that the Bush appearance has been widely talked about, and not just because of the upcoming election. Bush and Colbert spent the week approaching the taping Tweeting back and forth over a raffle that Bush's campaign sponsored to raise money while giving away a ticket to the taping. According to Colbert, the raffle plan wasn't cleared through him or CBS first, so he promptly created his own raffle — and the winner not only received two tickets to the taping, but the opportunity to ask Bush a question.
The back and forth, which also featured Amy Schumer, was successful in generating excitement over Colbert's first guest. And the interview itself was no let down. In case you missed it, here are some of the best quotes from Colbert's first Late Show interview with Bush.
1. More Pictures
Starting off the interview, Bush was clearly looking to settle into the comfort of a conventional late night show back-and-forth. He's taken some hits lately from Donald Trump, being accused of being boring, low-energy... but hey, he actually had the first joke of the night! It wasn't terribly well-delivered, but it was a sort of dig at the mock vanity of Colbert's TV persona.
This is incredible. This is on my highlight reel for sure. ... You got more pictures of yourself than I thought you would've had.
2. The Greatest Time To Be Alive
Bush's answer to "why do you want to be president" was not exactly spellbinding stuff, but it did help set up what was probably the most pointed exchange of the interview. Basically, Bush made a call for political civility, while hinting about the divisiveness of Obama's administration.
'Cause I think we're on the verge of the greatest time to be alive, but our government isn't working. ... Imagine if we fixed how we tax and regulate, brought people together again rather than constantly trying to dividing us.
3. Find Common Ground
Even as he strongly implied that President Obama is divisive, and said that he doesn't always agree with him, Bush maintained that he didn't think he had "bad motives." This is also pretty boilerplate political rhetoric, but we're quickly winding up to the best sequence of the night.
I don't think Barack Obama has bad motives. I just think he's wrong on a lot of issues. ... If you start with the premise that people have good motives, you can find common ground, even if they don't agree. ... In state capitols this doesn't happen to the same extent it does in Washington. ... You can be friends with people that you don't agree on everything. We have to restore a degree of civility.
4. It Connotes Excitement
Those three words above were perhaps the most memorable moment of the whole interview — it was Bush's answer on why he goes with "Jeb!" as his campaign logo.
Cause I've been using Jeb! since 1994. It connotes excitement, it connotes...
That was as far as he got before the laughter overtook both host and guest. Remember, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has been sort of trolling Bush about his enthusiasm and energy levels lately. You've got to think a clip of him explaining how Jeb! gets people excited won't help with that.
5. Much Better Looking
The most interesting, probing question of the night was introduced by way of Colbert's brother Jay, who was seated in the audience. Colbert observed how he and Jay don't agree politically, but still love each other, then asked Bush to define what ways he differs from his brother. Personalizing it beforehand was a nice touch, and after Bush's joke about his looks, he gave a slightly more relaxed answer than you might've expected.
I'm obviously younger, much better looking. ... I think my brother probably didn't control the Republican Congress' spending. I think he should've brought the hammer down on the Republicans when they were spending way too much. ... He didn't veto things, he didn't bring order or fiscal restraint.
6. "Veto Corleone"
This isn't exactly a new bit for Bush, but the response is what makes it. You see, Bush is fond of dropping a nickname he apparently picked up while Governor of Florida — "Veto Corleone." Like the Godfather from The Godfather, but for veto authority.
Look, they called me Veto Corleone in Florida.
Without missing a beat, Colbert had the same response any political junkie/Francis Ford Coppola fan would.
He is an anti-hero in that movie.