How Louis Cato, Bandleader for ‘The Late Show,’ Spends His Sundays

Before Louis Cato took over for his friend Jon Batiste as bandleader of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in 2022, he put out records that swerved from funk to jazz to blues and soul, with some R&B and Latin influences along the way.

Mr. Cato, 38, is still making his own music when he’s not onstage revving up the “Late Show” crowd. Most Sunday afternoons after he and his 12-year-old daughter, Gianna, part ways — he and Gianna’s mother share custody — he’s hunkered in his home studio in Midtown recording “Cato covers,” his version of a beloved song, which he shares with his Instagram followers each Monday.

FRESH FROM HELL, HILARITY I’m usually up round about the 8 o’clock hour. My daughter and I start out with açaí bowls. It’s a longstanding daddy-daughter tradition, always from the smoothie/juice spot right here on my block, Fresh From Hell. If I worked late and am feeling super lazy, I might have it delivered. Other times, I walk down the block in my pajama pants and pick it up. She gets a fresh and fruity açaí bowl; I get a green smoothie with a bunch of stuff in it — flax seeds, matcha protein, ginger, blueberries.

We always have a little bit of a game if I went to pick it up. It feels weird to say it out loud because no one knows about it, but to us it’s hilarious: I get back with the order, and she’ll say, “Hey, Dad, did you get the açaí bowls?” I, for no reason, pretend I haven’t gotten them yet, that I went to pick up a package instead. Then it becomes this game where she’s trying to grab the bowls. We always do the first bite together and end up turning on cartoons, usually “Animaniacs” or “Pinky and the Brain.”

Mr. Cato and his daughter, Gianna, like to watch cartoons during breakfast.Credit…Jordan Macy for The New York Times

DAD HAT As of late we’ve been walking to the piers, two blocks away. That’s sort of our get-out-of-the-house thing of choice. We’re walking and talking, just hanging. We play a lot of 20 questions. If it’s raining, she likes to jump in the puddles, much to the chagrin of me in my father hat. When we get back home late morning, we do what I like to think of as the real breakfast, which is delivery from Galaxy Diner. She gets a waffle with bacon; I get an omelet.

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