“I had been working for ABC at 'The Dana Carvey Show’ in 1996. That show got canceled, my wife wasn’t working, and we had a baby. I desperately needed a job,” Colbert told Vanity Fair.
He even went, very briefly, into real news as a correspondent for “Good Morning America,” where he did two reports. Only one of them aired. Then his agent referred him to a pseudo-news program on Comedy Central called “The Daily Show.”
Colbert actually got to the “The Daily Show” during Craig Kilborn’s second season, well before Jon Stewart. And he didn’t expect it to last.
“They had me on for a trial basis, and for the next nine months I worked at ‘The Daily Show’ occasionally, during Craig Kilborn’s second year. But it was totally a day job. I never expected to stay, because I did sketch comedy and I wrote, and I really didn’t think that [it] was going to go anyplace,” Colbert told Vanity Fair.
Colbert actually auditioned for the host of “The Daily Show” after Craig Kilborn left in late 1998, but ended up back in a correspondent position with Jon Stewart at the helm. The two hit it off, and the show itself gradually picked up steam.