It’s hard to believe that the Colbert Report is coming to an end tonight. For nearly 10 years now, we’ve been watching Stephen Colbert send up the news at 11:30 (or just catching the clips that went viral the next morning). Earlier this week, 49 celebrities said goodbye to Colbert’s character and we want to say goodbye to him, too, by sharing some of the things we’ll miss the most from his show. Here are some of our favorite Colbert Report memories:
Stephen Colbert’s wardrobe was supposed to be a bit of a joke. All those Brooks Brothers suits and diagonal-striped power ties were meant to make him look like the Fox News anchors that he was parodying. But let’s admit it, Colbert is such a handsome man that the look nearly works on him. We’ll miss that exaggerated conservative, all-American look — and that perfectly sculpted haircut — when he returns to TV next year. But it was kind of fun while it lasted!
Everything on the Colbert Report was about Colbert and Colbert alone. That’s why he didn’t even allow his guests to make an entrance on the show like any gracious host should. Instead, he took a victory lap across his studio before sitting down across from his guest at the interview table. Colbert always went tough on his interviewees and he never got caught off-guard without a witty comeback. Some of his guests were able to play along with his persona and others, like former Congressman Barney Frank, just couldn’t take the heat.
The product placement
Colbert was the undisputed king of ironic product placement and his throne was the Dr. Pepper Flavor Zone Chair. Remember the time when Colbert promoted Wheat Thins on the Report by reading a corporate memo full of ridiculous rules for advertising the crackers? He wasn’t allowed to eat more than 16 Wheat Thins on air so naturally he tried to fit 16 of them in his mouth at once. Or that time when he renamed his bid for the presidency “The Hail to the Cheese Stephen Colbert Nacho Cheese Doritos 2008 Presidential Campaign”? Whenever Colbert had to plug something, he always did it in a hilariously over-the-top way.
Colbert loved to make up new words — he called his Wheat Thins plug a “sponsortunity.” But none of his inventions made a more lasting impression than “truthiness,” which Merriam-Webster made its Word of the Year in 2006. “Truthiness” was Colbert’s way of suggesting that facts seem to matter less than beliefs when it comes to politics, and it made us laugh so hard because it was so true. Or should we say because it was truthy?
The computer-animated Colbert Report opening was perhaps the most American thing on the planet. We’ll never be able to forget it: Colbert falls through the air holding a U.S. flag while patriotic words swirl around him, he lands defiantly in a stadium, and then that angry bald eagle swoops toward the screen, with its claws outstretched. Even though we watched that screeching star-spangled eagle fly at us hundreds of times, it always managed to catch us off guard and make us giggle.
How he (almost) never broke character
Colbert did almost 1,500 shows over nine years and yet he rarely broke character. That means that he managed to keep a straight face for over 60 days worth of screen time. But his dedication to the part only made it all the more satisfying when we got to catch little glimpses of the man behind the mask. Like the time when he just couldn’t keep a straight face in a bit about Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew or the time when he showed off his Lord of the Rings knowledge in front of James Franco.
But Colbert sometimes broke character on purpose, too. When his mother passed away last year, Colbert took the time to pay her a moving tribute on air while choking back tears. We’ll miss a lot of things about Stephen Colbert’s character, but we’re also excited to get to know the real Stephen Colbert on the Late Show next year.
We’ll miss you Stephen! Thanks so much for making us think and for making us laugh.