New York (CNN Business)Stephen Colbert has come a long way since doing a monologue in a bathtub.

The host welcomed back a full house to the Ed Sullivan Theater, home of CBS' "The Late Show," on Monday. It was the first time in 15 months that Colbert presented the show in front of a live audience.

CNN Business was granted access to the taping of Colbert's return to the big stage, which took place in front of a fully vaccinated crowd.

I've covered many "The Late Show" tapings since Colbert took over for David Letterman in 2015. I've seen Colbert interview Donald Trump, go late into the night live after the Republican National Convention, and even drink wine with former FBI director James Comey.

However, none of those moments truly matched the energy that was in the Ed Sullivan Theater on Monday night. The theater, which is located on Broadway, houses the largest audience of any of the late night shows (its capacity is 400 people). So even though other hosts welcomed back audiences before Colbert, this felt like a New York institution had returned.

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