Spike Jonze is one of this generation’s great filmmakers, so we should all feel blessed that he decided to use his appearance on The Late Show as an opportunity to make a new short film. The clip, which opened the show, began with simple text explaining itself: “My guest tonight had an idea about how to start the show in a different way,” it read. “I said sure, let’s try it. This is it.”
The film then follows a mournful Stephen Colbert as he wakes up in Central Park, and wanders the indifferent New York streets in search of something. What? Not even he seems to know. Then, in a nod to Jonze’s movie Where the Wild Things Are, Grover from Sesame Street appears, and he and Colbert walk the streets together, engaged in deep conversation. The movie, which is simply called A Short Film by Spike Jonze, ends as Colbert reaches his home at the Ed Sullivan Theater, with the crowd rising to its feet as he takes the stage. It’s stirring stuff, and you can watch it above.