Jim Hoskinson (‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ director): ‘If he’s not going to blow his top, then it’d be pretty embarrassing for me to blow my top’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“If he’s not going to blow his top, then it’d be pretty embarrassing for me to blow my top,” reveals “The Late Show” director Jim Hoskinson about working for Stephen Colbert. For our recent webchat he continues, “He’s a very level headed character, he’s very polite, he’s very appreciative. When I’m trying to figure out how to do my job, he is a role model. We have a really good crew. People are entitled to have good days and bad days, just like I do. It’s a blank slate the next day and we get a chance to be much better.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” has received five Emmy nominations this year, including its sixth straight nomination for Variety Talk Series. The show has consistently been winning the late-night ratings since 2017, leaning into Stephen Colbert’s political sensibilities and thoughtful approach to interviews.

Hoskinson has been directing for Colbert since 2005. This was when he left work in ‘real’ news to direct news satire “The Colbert Report.” Regular viewers of “The Report” and “Late Show” will know Hoskinson as ‘Jim’ or ‘Jimmy’ who Colbert will often call out directions to. Comparing his work on both shows the director reflects, “The old show was more intimate. We all sort of grew up together. Two hours before air everyone was allowed to pitch in. In “The Late Show,” the scale is much bigger. We just don’t bump into each other as often as we used to, but the ambition of it is really satisfying. We had smaller victories on the older show, and these are bigger victories.”

This year, Hoskinson has received his 17th Emmy nomination (in as many years). He is nominated for Variety Directing for an episode including an original musical performance from Chance the Rapper. Hoskinson explains, “This song was based on a piece of artwork from a museum. They shipped us the artwork and we had to create what looked like a museum installation. The musicians were set up to the sides so we had to sort of shoot in the round, and Chance wanted the lyrics on the screen. We couldn’t center Chance because the lyrics had to be in the center of the screen. Cameramen are used to shooting the subject in the middle. Everyone had to reorient themselves to figure out how to make that work.”

On shooting in the historic Ed Sullivan Theatre, Hoskinson reflects, “There’s a lot of stuff to look at, but then again, it’s not a very regular space either. There’s some quirks to it for sure. Our performance area in particular is quite narrow. It’s very broad and deep, but it’s not wide. It can be very difficult to make it look like a different space.”

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