The New Yorker review of The Colbert Report takes note, of all things, of the amount of applause the two get when coming back from commercial, calling it “something masturbatory” to leave all the adulation in. Then they reference Portnoy’s Complaint
As Colbert might say, “They don’t get it.” First, the show is live to tape, which means that whatever happens goes right on air, save if they go long (as guest Matthew McConaughey once disturbingly did in telling a story of the sexual habits of his pet goat). Plus, the audience IS that enthusiastic, possibly because nothing else in media demonstrates their level of frustration with the current administration. (Also, because Jon, from all reports, is quite personable with them during the show.) The show in general even resists going for applause, preferring as all comics should, laughs.
It’s a weird thing to point out (and possibly an even sillier blog post), but it would have been far more interesting, comedically, to talk about Colbert inhabiting a character for a half hour and how that affects the show, than about how people seem to enjoy it too much.