As a fake news man myself, I’ve been a loyal devotee of Stephen Colbert since before the pseudo-pundit had his own show.
Thursday, the legendary difference-maker signed off as his quasi-conservative self for the last time.
I watched the very first episode, and in the 1,447 episode run, I’ve probably only missed a dozen.
I donated to his SuperPAC, volunteered at the Seattle Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Freedom, and had a heavier hand in the fan-version of the Tek Jansen book than I’ll publicly admit.
Rather than bore you, I’ll just post the show’s final, star-studded musical number… then I’ll bore you after you watch it. FYI, all the guests in this segment are previous Colbert Report guests.
Play the video
In my defense, I only cried the first three times I watched this song.
Guests included the biggest gets imaginable. The following list of guest performers is not complete, but believe me when I say I’m not joking.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, Arianna Huffingpo, Willie Nelson, Charlie Rose, Yo Yo Ma, Michael Stipe, Katie Couric, Henry Kissinger, Mike Huckabee, Corey Booker, Bryan Cranston, Elijah Wood, Randy Newman, John Stewart, Doris Kearns Goodwin (our apologies), Mandy Patinkin, Tom Brokaw, Sam Waterson, Cindy Lauper, Jeff Daniels, Big Bird, Keith Olbermann, Cookie Monster, Andrew Sullivan, Ric Ocasek, Frank Burns, Gloria Steinem,
James Franco, Toby Keith, Kareem Adbul Jabbar, Dean Kamen, Barry Manilow, Patrick Stewart, David Gregory, Christiane Amanpour, Stone Phillips, Alan Alda, George Lucas, Bob Costas, Tim Meadows, Pussy Riot, Tek Jansen, Bill Clinton, Esteban Colberto, Smaug, Matt Taibi, Dan Savage, Jon Lovitz?, Mark Cuban, Jeff Tweedy, Francis Collins, Trevor Potter, Samantha Power, Andrew Young, General Raymond Odierno, George Saunders, Bill de Blasio, Andrew Cohen, Peter Frampton, Naquasia LeGrand, Alexi Lalas, Jon Batiste, astronaut Terry Virts, Jake Tapper, Garrett Reisman, Lesley Stahl, Claire McCaskill, Terry Gross, Norm Ornstein, Shephard Fairey, Emily Bazelon, Ed Viesturs, Jonathan Alter, Eliot Spitzer, Nate Silver, Steven Pinker, Elanor HOlmes Norton, Jimmy Whales, Richard Clarke, Grover Norquist, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Robert Pinsky, Cliff Sloan, Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman, David Remnick, Bing West, Maureen Dowd, George Church, Paul Fieckhoff, Father Jim Martin, Jeffrey Toobin, Paulina Porizkova, with very, very special guests, the Colbert family.
In a nod to musical montage guest-of-many J. J. Abrams, Colbert respected his fans by tying up and remembering virtually every loose end in the shows 1,447 episode run.
In the closing weeks he Better Knew one final District, the very first congressman he ever featured. He brought back the long-dead Formidable Opponent and even mentioned Charlene one last time in the closing minutes of the final show.
And as send offs go, reminiscent of Bob Newhart waking up from a dream, Colbert threw back to John Stewart who said only, “Thanks for that report, Stephen.”
The final seconds were John Stewart’s trademark “moment of zen” showing a lost toss between the shows from 2010.
It’s a bittersweet end. He could have easily phoned it in these closing months, weeks and days, but he hit it as hard as ever and the payoff was as wonderful as could be hoped for when saying goodbye to someone you’ll never forget.
Now the question is whether or not the real world Stephen Colbert, scheduled to take fill the giant shoes of retiring David Letterman next year, will be as life-changing and his fictional counterpart.
For that matter, I’m wondering if we’ll even recognize him I can’t wait to find out.