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Stephen Colbert ‘prays’ Donald Trump stays in the 2016 race

Updated

Comedian Stephen Colbert said he hopes Donald Trump stays in the 2016 presidential race into the fall, so he can mock the real estate mogul when his new CBS late night show debuts.

“Every night before I go to bed, I light a candle and pray that he stays in the race and I also pray that no one puts that candle anywhere near his hair,” he told the press during remarks at a Television Critics Association event, according to The New York Times.

Colbert, who will replace David Letterman as the host of “The Late Show” on September 8, told reporters he has struggled with the nine-month hiatus between the end of his hit Comedy Central show “The Colbert Report” and his new gig. “I want to get in front of the audience and hear the laughter,” he said. “The emotion I have right now, it’s not anxiety over doing the show. It’s anxiety of the eagerness to get onstage.”

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The 51-year-old performer became a fan favorite originally on “The Daily Show” by adopting an ironic persona as an egotistical conservative blowhard. However, on his CBS show, Colbert will be playing this one straight.

“One of the reasons why I most wanted to drop the character is that I felt I had done everything I could do with him other than have my honest interest in my guest,” he said. “Which is almost constant. Now I feel actually more freed up. That was in some ways the most energetic, the most exciting part of the show to me and now I don’t have to hold back at all.”

“Now I can just talk,” he continued.

Colbert’s CBS show will be held in the legendary Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City that Letterman helped return to prominence. The theater will get a makeover to coincide with Colbert’s arrival. Meanwhile, his first guests are officially lined up: Oscar winner George Clooney and rapper Kendrick Lamar.

“I wish I could have done better than George Clooney,” he joked

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Donald Trump, George Clooney and Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert 'prays' Donald Trump stays in the 2016 race

Updated