CBS' presentation at the Upfronts leaned heavy into several significant themes: dominance, diversity and... dad jokes.
As is custom, the network — which we should say "up front" owns TV Guide (*rimshot*) — trotted out executives, including entertainment president Kelly Kahl, to tout its successes to advertisers. Kahl hyped up the fact CBS is the most-watched network for the 11th straight year while dipping his toe in the dad joke pool by referencing the restaurant he's a partner of in Hermosa Beach, California. (What, Kelly, no coupon?)
But Kahl's bit was just the warm-up for the real entertainment, The Late Show host Stephen Colbert, there to tickle advertisers, presumably, until they whipped out their checkbooks. While Colbert didn't come close to killing 'em as much as Jimmy Kimmel during his presentation during ABC's Upfront on Tuesday, Colbert did land some zingers — more than a few at the expense of the gigantic eye that watches over his every move, even when he's asleep. Here are some of his best jokes:
- "Despite Lindsey Graham's advice, I honored my subpoena to be here today." Later, while noting that CBS has some of the highest-rated crime dramas on TV, he kept up the political humor by cracking, "These days, people really want to watch people who obviously committed crimes go to jail for them."
- "This is our chance to sell you," he said to the assembled spenders. "We're not going to interrupt the show with commercials. Those things are awful." It's meta! It's daring! It's true!
- Joking that he hadn't read all the documents he was supposed to before coming onstage, Colbert riffed that he had, however, read Bill Barr's four page summary. "Turns out Les Moonves is exonerated. I did not see that coming." Daring, Stephen. We see you!
- Perhaps his funniest joke cam when Colbert acknowledged CBS' 11 years as No. 1 and said it was attributable to "old people" who've left the TV in the basement on for over a decade. Not bad Stephen, not bad.
- "When it comes to finding new voices, CBS will take a chance finding anyone who is already on CBS," he quipped, ribbing CBS' FBI spin-off FBI: Most Wanted.
- Of course, The Big Bang Theory, the departing elephant in the room, got some mentions in his set as well. "Every week 9 million people declare their candidacy. Thats why Big Bang is going off the air," he said, as a graphic of the field of Democratic nominees, plus a whole lot of other randos, flashed behind him. "The whole cast is running."
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)