And what about his age? Depending on when he signs on, he will be 50 or 51 (in other words, outside the "demo"). Meanwhile, his main rivals will still be in the bloom of youth: NBC's "Tonight Show" host, Jimmy Fallon, will be 40 or 41; the host of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" will be 47 or 48.
Besides, what political baggage will Colbert bring to CBS, even as he ditches his "Stephen Colbert" role?
On Tuesday, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly (more than anyone the inspiration for "Stephen Colbert") tore into Colbert, branding him "one of the biggest mouthpieces for the progressive movement, ... playing exclusively to other believers."
And, just hours after Colbert was named the new "Late Show" host, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh was growling that "CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America."
"No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values (and) conservatives," he went on. "Now it's just wide out in the open."
That may be a premature assessment. O'Reilly may place Colbert in the ranks of "ideological fanatics." But ideology has never been at home on major late-night talk shows, which traditionally shoot for reassurance and diversion. What do such constraints mean for Colbert, and for viewers who dote on what he does as "Stephen Colbert"?
Uncertainties abound concerning Colbert's new assignment. Unknowns include creative elements of his new show, and even where it will be based. CBS said such details would be shared later on.
But while his fans wait, they know enough to take solace in one overriding fact: They should never underestimate him.
So RIP, "Stephen Colbert," if that's how it's got to be. The Stephen Colbert viewers meet on "Late Show" next year could well be someone they like just as much. Or even more.