Stephen Colbert Reboots ‘Late Show’ After Strike With Boatload of Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce Bits: ‘I Think This Is the One’

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Like the NFL and its broadcast partners, late night show hosts could not resist going all-in on everything Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce related when the returned from a five-month strike-related lay-off on Monday night (Oct. 2). Chief among them was Stephen Colbert, who celebrated the reboot of The Late Show with a cold open bit in which he played a bearded Earnest Hemingway-esque sea captain crooning Jimmy Buffett’s “Son of a Son of a Sailor” while getting the latest news from a dolphin.


“Really? She’s dating Travis Kelce?” Colbert said in response to a series of squeaks breaking the celeb love affair news to him. “I think this is the one.” And while Colbert knows a lot of things, at this point neither Swift nor Kelce have publicly commented on or confirmed the rampant speculation that they are dating. The loud whispers, of course, have been stoked by Swift’s appearance at the last two Kansas City Chiefs games, where network cameras have cut to her dozens of times cheering on two-time Super Bowl champion tight end Kelce.

The proper monologue opened with Colbert hinting that a “major world leader” had come to New York the night before… of course he meant Swift being in town to watch Kelce. “At the game, Taylor drank some dranks, hung out with Blake Lively, while injured Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers sat alone in the Sadness Box,” Colbert said over footage of Swift living it up and injured Jets QB Rodgers glumly texting while watching his new team keep it close in what was an eventual loss to the Super Bowl champs.

If nothing else, Colbert said it’s all great publicity for the NFL. “Mere rumors that Tay-Tay might be at last night’s game-game sent ticket prices surging more than 40 percent,” Colbert joked. “It used to be that you couldn’t afford to watch Taylor Swift. Now you can’t afford to watch Taylor Swift watch something. The Swift Lift is not limited to tickets,” he added, noting that “maybe-boyfriend” Kelce’s jersey saw a 400% sales spike over the past week, while the denim shorts she wore to the game have sold out everywhere.

“Everything she touches is instantly revitalized,” Colbert said while getting an idea for another possible Swift target. “Taylor: If this relationship doesn’t work out, is there any way you can start dating one of our nation’s crumbling bridges?” And because every celeb couple needs a clever portmanteau, he suggested “Traylor Swelce.”

Colbert and fellow late nighters Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers all played a bit of catch-up on Monday, hitting the high (and low) points they missed over the summer, from former president Donald Trump’s quartet of indictments to Rep. Lauren Boebert’s viral Bettlejuice musical hand jive and jokes about the The Golden Bachelor, as well as heartfelt thanks to their returning writing staffs after a long, hot strike summer. Plus, Traylor jokes, of course.

Fallon also performed a tiny song recapping the strike summer that opened with him singing, “First things first, there’s Taylor Swift. Wonder if she’ll write a song about meeting… Travis Kelce’s mom.”

Watch Colbert’s bits below.

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