So I've seen the first couple weeks of The Late Show. I'm on a day delay now, because while this is very entertaining, it is not entertaining enough for me to give CBS $6/mo for five whole hours of TV a week, especially since they make me pause the ad blocker for the free episodes anyway.

Colbert makes one thing clear from the very beginning of the very first show, and that is that he is going to sing as much as he possibly can. He's always had a tendency to burst into song at the drop of a hat, but this is now his show, which he gets to do as himself, so: Hat no longer required. I don't object. His is easily a professional-quality voice. I just find it amusing.

I've seen a fair amount of Colbert out-of-character at this point, because I've been specifically digging up interviews. I understand why he had to keep asking people whether they wanted Colbert or "Colbert" speaking at their event, because a lot of invitations were ambiguous, but I've never figured out why people kept having to ask him if he was in-character or not. The idiot pundit has very different body language than his actor. Plus the actor actually cares what other people think and whether he's being understood properly, where the pundit doesn't. Colbert-per-se thinks a lot more before he speaks, and thus has kind of an endearing stammer when people ask him things he wasn't prepared for.

One thing I hadn't seen him do a whole lot of OOC was run around. "Colbert" used to do a lot of narcissistic sprinting back and forth on-set at the Report -- he biffed it once and broke his wrist doing that, in fact. (Many people would take this as a sign that they should stop throwing themselves bodily around at work. Colbert took this as a sign that he should have rubber soles put on his dress shoes. He seemed rather proud of this solution when he explained it to David Letterman.) The humor of the idiot pundit stemmed largely from the fact that he took himself very seriously, so there wasn't much room for Colbert to be light and silly, and when he's doing outside press he's mostly sitting down in a studio.

It was a bit of a surprise to discover that, unconstrained now by either the character or any form of dignity, Colbert moves like a dancer. Not like 'a guy who probably knows where his feet are and can count to eight repeatedly'. Like an actual dancer. I don't know how much he had banged into his head as a theater major decades ago and how much he's just picked up from imitating other people, but he spots his spins, he rolls his weight from foot to foot, and he sweeps his toes. He mounts the platform his desk is on with a back cross step. It's startlingly graceful. There was a choreographer on a few nights ago, and from his comments. Colbert doesn't consider himself to have a dance background -- he must just dance all the time. Randomly. Because.

He seems partial to high kicks. (Admittedly, they are fun.) Dude can get his feet up to eye level. He's fifty-mumble. Most people can't do that when they're twenty-mumble. I've seen Colbert sit in various interview chairs with one ankle propped up on the opposite leg, and his bent knee drops to or past the level of his hip; he can hit the floor with his fingertips when he bows, although I don't think he's particularly aiming to.

(Colbert pestered the choreographer for a brief dance lesson. The choreo guy protested that Colbert could already dance. Colbert seemed about as surprised to be told this as the choreographer was to find out he didn't already know.)

Whatever else he thinks he's doing up there, Colbert is at the very least having an enormous amount of fun. I think he hired a jazz funk improv band for his show so he had a good excuse to get his groove on before he did his monologue every night.

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  1. Regarding the Twitter feed, if you still need a physical Siddur, the Seven Stars bookstore in Central has two. But they're $22 and $32. English/Hebrew, hardcover.
    I'm assuming you would've just downloaded one if an electronic copy would work.

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    1. I actually live about a 10-15 minute hike from a couple of proper Judaica stores in Brookline, but A) they were closed for Yom Kippur and I am impatient, and B) I was combing second-hand bookstores (and hoping for post-High Holiday sales at the new ones) because I am broke and my budget is more like $5.

      I did in fact download a couple, but they are less than ideal for what I'm doing with them, which is Rosetta-Stone-ing the Hebrew abjad and some vocabulary. I wanted an actual book because it's much easier to flip back and forth to compare pages, or refer to a pronunciation guide. They're also big unwieldy PDFs, because the Kindle Keyboard handles flow on right-to-left text like Hebrew and Arabic notoriously poorly.

      What really surprised/annoyed me is that BPL doesn't have any for check-out. There are a couple that are "at the Delivery Desk" at Copley, which effectively means they're in the basement and unavailable, as the building is under construction and most of the non-circulating collection has been put into storage.

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