Not Goodbye, Stephen Colbert, But See You Later… And Thank YouPosted: December 19, 2014
Last night, Stephen Colbert signed off from The Colbert Report after almost a decade of some of the most incisive and brilliant political comedy we might ever see. While I’ve sadly not been watching Colbert regularly for the last couple of years, during college he (along with Jon Stewart) was appointment television, and even as my regular viewership has waned there’s always a video online worth watching. While television has never been a huge focus on this blog, and variety/late-night television even less so, how could I not address the end of such a great piece of comedic work, and one of the great cultural forces my generation has seen?
While I didn’t really start watching The Daily Show regularly until after The Colbert Report started, I was still aware of Stephen Colbert’s work on the former, and was easily interested in the latter. But I don’t know if anyone could have predicted the incredible thing that the Report would become over these 9 years. I mean, the whole Super-PAC thing? Holy SHIT. That was a slow-burn, boundary-breaking piece of comedy that transcended entertainment to become one of the most enlightening and educational things that you could find on television. Along with Jon Stewart (and now John Oliver and hopefully Larry Wilmore), Stephen figured out what the cable news networks still can’t: how to entertain and enlighten at the same time. And of course, let’s not forget Stephen’s address at the 2006 White House Correspondent’s Dinner, which was one of the ballsiest stand-up performances ever given (and damn fucking funny to boot):
Now all of this might sound hyperbolic, but it’s hard to underestimate how out-there and how challenging Stephen Colbert’s work was. He took advantage of an uncommon platform to do unique things, and the results were often spectacular. Really though, nothing speaks to Colbert’s legacy more than the mob of friends, colleagues and guests that came out in last night’s finale to help Stephen say goodbye to the show that has defined his life (and on some level our lives) for almost a decade. Those people only represent a fraction of those of us who at one time or another have watched The Colbert Report and been left better off for it, many of whom probably had a tear or two in their eyes as Stephen made his final toss back to Jon, the last sign-off of a brilliant comedic persona. I certainly look forward to Stephen Colbert’s tenure as host of the Late Show, but there will never be another Colbert Report. Let us all be glad that there ever was one at all.