Stephen Colbert returns to ‘The Late Show,’ recounts how serious his burst appendix was

CBS/Scott Kowalchyk

Stephen Colbert can fortunately laugh about it now — and he did in his first Late Show appearance since suffering a burst appendix — but the Emmy winner explained his situation was actually deadly serious. 

The talk show host said he also suffered from blood poisoning because of the ordeal, losing 14 pounds in the process. He joked that “appendicitis is the new Ozempic.” 

“The last time I was sitting at this desk, which was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I was in a heap of trouble. I was not aware of the amount of trouble I was in,” Colbert told his studio audience, before explaining he began experiencing “abdominal agony” after his interview with David Letterman

“I didn’t know what was going on. I thought I might have caught something from Dave’s beard,” Colbert joked. 

Instead of getting it checked out, Colbert soldiered on through “off the charts” pain, partially because he felt he’d already missed enough shows thanks to a bout of COVID-19 and the writers strike, and partially to give his staff an extra day off for the Thanksgiving break by getting an extra episode in the can. 

He expressed, “I held it together for two monologues and two second acts and then a long interview with Bradley Cooper, because there is no pain when you’re lost in those baby blues.”

When the shows finished taping, he had a “raging” fever, and his wife, Evie, and his driver made the decision to rush him to St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx, where he underwent surgery.  

“They said when they opened me up, it was like they’d shot John Wick 5 down there,” Colbert said, before thanking his family, the doctors who treated him and his staff, “who truly went beyond the call of duty,” for “propping him up.”

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