A new golden age of television began as The Colbert Report premiered last night.
Simply put, it was very funny. I was afraid that Stephen Colbert needed Jon Stewart around to prompt the hilarity, but he doesn't. It helped that Stone Phillips showed up for a little self-parody of the robotically smooth anchorman. And I was concerned about the studio audience until I realized that Colbert feeds off their energy to keep the show rolling. For now, it works.
Complaints: it needs a better theme and better titles to distinguish it from The Daily Show. The set is too dark and should more directly resemble The O'Reilly Factor than a cross between SportsCenter and Charlie Rose. The more he steals from Bill O'Reilly and the other windbags of cable news, the better. I certainly look forward to Colbert's version of talking points, interviews via satellite, and responses to viewer e-mail.