I was 15 years old when The Colbert Report debuted. I remember watching the first episode in my room, hearing Stephen craft the word ‘truthiness’ and his epic Gravitas-Off with Stone Philips. I don’t know if I realized at the time that I was witnessing the birth of one of the most brilliant characters on television.
On December 18th, The Colbert Report ended its nine year run on Comedy Central after 1,447 episodes, a Christmas special, three books, two presidential campaigns, and the greatest Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor to ever exist. It’s surreal to think that as we get into the period when Jon and Stephen would be exiting their winter breaks and preparing to comment on the things that happened when they were away. No more truthiness, no more bears, no more Tek Jansen, no more Better Know A District, and no more sarcasm disguised as heavy handed conservatism that’s usually seen on Fox News.
It wasn’t just the brilliant political commentary that made The Colbert Report such a gem of a show for nine years. It was the fact Stephen was having way more fun with his job than anyone else on TV. I think the only people who came close would be Stephen’s “Best Friend for Six Months” Jimmy Fallon and perennial late night underdog Craig Ferguson (who also ended his 10 year run of The Late Late Show the next evening). It could have been so easy for the show to fall into a basic format of parodying Bill O’Reilly, but Stephen’s willingness to step outside of the box lead to some thrilling adventures, such as visiting Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics after the Colbert Nation sponsored the US Speed Skating Team, a late night fight for the ages during the Writer’s Guild of America strike of 2007-2008, the Daft Punk appearance that never happened, a dance off with Korean pop star Rain, a historic interview with Maurice Sendak months before his death, and tons of other amazing things that would make this article run long. This doesn’t even include the best Christmas special ever.
And if you’re wondering why we’re even talking about Stephen Colbert on a nerdy website, you’re more ignorant than I thought, Greg. Stephen was and is a huge nerd. He placed a Chewbacca figurine on his shelf the first night of the show to commemorate Peter Mayhew becoming a US Citizen, he famously beat the entire cast and crew of The Hobbit at Tolkien trivia, he was briefly president elect of the United States on Earth-616 and was chosen by Captain America himself to bear the shield after his death in 2007, and he schooled everyone on why the new lightsaber in The Force Awakens is actually not idiotic. For Thorin’s sake, Smaug was even one of his last guests! SMAUG! Though, he was not as impressive as “the Robert Downey, Jr. of cookies.” If you don’t think Colbert is nerdy, maybe go back and rewatch a few episodes. I really do hope that nerdiness carries over to The Late Show. Lord knows CBS will need it after Doctor Who superfan Craig Ferguson made his exit.
Here’s to you, Stephen Colbert. Thank you for the freedom and truthiness. I hope we do meet again some sunny day because I really wanted to be on your show.