The fun aspect of late-night programming is the elasticity of the form; it’s flexible enough that really anything can happen, from a Donald Trump musical to a new short film from one of American cinema’s least predictable voices. Late Show host Stephen Colbert has a heavy rolodex, and he’s got the creative freedom to bring his friends along for whatever little projects they might feel like doing. Last night provided a shining example of late-night experimentation, with Colbert eschewing his usual intro sequence for a more pensive, melancholic take. And to top it all off, the new Colbert intro comes to us courtesy of none other than the great Spike Jonze, director of such fine films as HerBeing John Malkovich, and Adaptation.

While this may seem an odd gig for Jonze, it’s anything but. The man’s got plenty of experience working in the short form, having directed loads of music videos and assorted short films. (It wasn’t too long ago that Jonze collaborated with Kanye West on the short film We Were Once a Fairytale to accompany the album 808s and Heartbreak.)

In fact, all of this is pretty classic Jonze; the sudden appearance of Grover from Sesame Street comes out of nowhere, but the blue puppet fits snugly into a tradition of strange critters that befriend humans in Jonze’s filmography, from the stop-motion rodent in Fairytale to Charles, the anthropomorphic dog-man in Jonze’s video for “Da Funk” by Daft Punk. The photography of New York’s unmistakable streets is gorgeous, and the wounding realization that the same folks who wouldn’t give Colbert the time of day on the street worship him in the theatre hits like a gut punch. This appears to be a one-night thing, but is there any chance we can get this to straight-up replace the usual intro?