It’s official: Stephen Colbert is replacing David Letterman when the latter retires from late night television next year.

PJMedia’s Bryan Preston reacts:

I say it’s an odd choice because Colbert plays a character on his Comedy Central show. He’s parodying Bill O’Reilly. Does he bring that schtick to a full talk show at CBS, or does he leave it behind and re-invent himself?

Now, my antipathy towards David Letterman is familiar to regular PJMedia readers.

As well, I’m not a fan of Colbert’s schtick; yes, I “get” it, and no, it still wasn’t funny enough, regularly enough, to turn me into a loyal viewer.

In fact, Colbert’s character is so “ten years ago,” so Bush Administration, it’s been giving off an anachronistic odor for a while.

This new job gives Colbert a dignified and lucrative way to kill off his tired alter ego.

Because — and here’s the point — Stephen Colbert is perfectly capable of comporting himself out of character.

At least, he was when, for instance, he’d join the gang on Colin Quinn‘s Tough Crowd (speaking of “ten years ago.”)

Some will accuse me of using this post as an excuse to post a Tough Crowd clip, and while I admit that I do love myself some Nick DiPaolo, I really am trying to be, well, fair and balanced.

This isn’t a test of whether or not Colbert is really “left wing” or “right wing.” I’m just saying that the inside joke in Tough Crowd‘s title was that one’s fellow stand up comics were going to be the toughest crowd you’d faced in a long time. Participants who couldn’t keep up were crushed quickly and painfully. Colbert passed the test.

He impressed me when I found this old clip on YouTube. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but: Colbert may very well prove us all wrong.

Check out this clip and see what you think: