Stephen Colbert has always decorated himself as an equal opportunity geek. His fervor for American pop culture is hardly limited to a specific chapters in our creative history, and he regularly showcases love for gems new and old. The finale of his star-making Comedy Central series, for instance, concluded with a musical nod to the 1964 apocalyptic political satire Dr. Strangelove, followed immediately by a tune from the 1998 indie rock Bible, Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. (It worked surprisingly well.) Last night on The Late Show, Colbert endeavored another successful marriage of artistic eras, uniting Abbott and Costello and the present incarnation of Doctor Who.
With Late Show guest David Tennant playing along, Colbert opted to give the world the “Who’s on First?” parody that has somehow, unbelievably, evaded us for far too long. The iconic comedy routine was created in the late 1930s for Abbott and Costello’s stage comedy and immortalized in the 1945 movie The Naughty Nineties, and was reinvented backstage at the Ed Sullivan Theater on Thursday night with the amorphous title of Doctor Who standing in as the central punchline. Series fans will appreciate Tennant’s subtle dig at Colbert for attempting to refer to him as “Doctor Who.” He’s the Tenth Doctor, Stephen. You should know better than that.
In just 30 seconds, the quick sketch manages to not only make a few cracks about Doctor Who, but lob in a few other pop culture references as well: Doctor Strange, Roger Daltry, and Sherlock, to be specific. See what I mean? Stephen appreciates all corners of pop culture.
Featured image: CBS
Michael Arbeiter is the East Coast Editor of Nerdist. Find him on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.