Nonverbal Canadian woman appears on 'Late Show,' turns tables on Colbert
A young Canadian woman with autism who first appeared on CTV News in 2008 appeared Friday on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Carly Fleischmann, who has autism and can’t speak, has used a computer to communicate since she was 10 years old.
On Friday night, she became the first nonverbal person with autism to guest-host Colbert’s show. Fleischmann was supposed to interview Colbert during a benefit show for Autism on Nov. 18. called the “Night of Too Many Stars,” but things didn’t go as planned and the interview didn’t happen that night, so the pair gave it another shot.
For the segment, the show was temporarily changed to: “The Late Show with Carly Fleischmann.”
“I am extremely excited to introduce you to my first guest ever,” Fleischmann says as she opened the segment. “I’m not as excited as if it had been Oprah, Tom Hanks or any member of the cast of The Big Bang Theory, but still, please welcome the former host of this show and the guy who has the worst impression of the president that I have ever heard: Stephen Colbert.”
Fleischmann took the opportunity to ask Colbert about his criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump, advice for booking guests, his banking PIN, his salary and Blake Shelton.
“You were recently upset that Blake Shelton won People’s sexiest man alive award,” Fleischmann told Colbert. “I can’t help but look at you and think there’s no way in H-E-double-hockey-sticks you would beat Blake Shelton in a sexiest man alive contest.”
The young Toronto woman has plenty of experience as an interviewer: she has her own YouTube web series called “Speechless with Carly Fleischmann,” in which she has interviewed several celebrities including Channing Tatum and James Van Der Beek.
As host, Fleischmann types her questions into her computer, which then voices the text to her guests.
Since Fleischmann’s parents discovered that technology could open a window into their daughter’s mind, Fleischmann has revealed a sharp intellect and quick sense of humour. She’s even co-authored a book with her dad, explaining firsthand the challenges of autism.
The 22-year-old ultimately hopes to have her own TV talk show, telling CTV she would love to interview Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres and Brad Pitt.
“I think they all have interesting stories to tell and I would love to hear the challenges they’ve overcome in their lives,” she said in an email interview.
She’d also like to interview the cast of “The Good Doctor,” a TV show featuring a young doctor with autism as a central character.
The message Fleischmann wants to send is that every one of us has challenges in life, “but it’s how we overcome it that makes us who we are,” she said.
“I can’t talk out of my mouth, but it’s not stopping me from showing the world the words I have inside my body.”
With files from CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip