CBS is not a network known for making brash, impulsive (or even exciting) decisions, so it was definitely jarring when the network gave The Word that politi-comic Stephen Colbert would be replacing David Letterman on The Late Show following his retirement next year. It put an end to one debate and spearheaded another: who will replace Colbert in that coveted post-Daily Show time slot?

It’s a long, tall drink of an order that requires a performer capable of captivating audiences both with a signature interview style and a point of view that allows everyone to feel like they’re also in on the joke. Assuming that Comedy Central doesn’t just fill the time slot with repeats of South Park, here are seven people we think could gratifyingly fill the America-sized hole in our hearts that Colbert will be clawing his way out of.

The Hopefully Obvious Choice: Paul F. Tompkins
If you’re going to replace one of the best comedians in the business, why not use one of the other best comedians in the business? This L.A. mainstay comic is a big part of how the burgeoning alt comedy scene in the 1990s became the standard a decade later, and his stand-up specials have become increasingly more esoteric and brilliant over the years. Tompkins has proven himself an entertainer of many hats across TV, radio and a wide range of podcasts. (The Paul F Tompkast, The Thrilling Adventure Hour and The Dead Authors Podcast are especially notable.) His past includes writing for The Daily Show and Real Time with Bill Maher, and his stand-up is filled with enough political touches that his presence wouldn’t be a huge leap for those hungry for Washington D.C. humor.

Tompkins is currently the host of Fusion’s No, You Shut Up!, a Henson Alternative puppet panel discussion series that takes on issues of the day in a rage-filled manner. But it’s his web series Speakeasy that would work best transitioning to cable, as its low-key celebrity interviews over drinks is a welcome change to the traditional format. Watch his talk with Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter below.

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