That was beautiful! I laughed, I cried... it was an incredible run for an incredible TV show. We'll never see the likes of this again. Sure, there will be imitators, but it will never be duplicated. You can make an argument that it was the best show of its kind. Will those involved be moving on to greener pastures? Time will tell, but how do you ever top that? And....
Oh crap. I used a screenshot for the wrong show.
Let's try this again, shall we?
That was beautiful! I laughed, I cried... it was an incredible run for an incredible TV show. We'll never see the likes of this again. Sure, there will be imitators, but it will never be duplicated. You can make an argument that it was the best show of its kind.
I remember the premiere of "The Colbert Report" like it was yesterday. I had just moved to Winter Park, Florida, to attend school at Full Sail University. I was already a die hard fanatic of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" with Stephen Colbert being my favorite of the correspondents. I also remember wondering if this spin-off would work. Spoiler Alert, the spin-off did pretty well. I tuned into the "Report" every night for nine years, and I never missed an episode. And if I did miss an episode, I always made sure to catch what I missed at "The Colbert Nation", where the entire run of the TV show is archived. Hopefully permanently.
I met Stephen Colbert for the first and only time at New York Comic Con, in 2007 where he was doing a signing promoting the Tek Jansen comic book. We chatted for a minute and then I shook his hand. Behind me on line was legendary comic book author, Peter David, who wanted to show Stephen his cameo in an issue of "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" that he had written. This was well before Stephen ran for president in the Marvel Universe. But I've seen him twice since then, again when I attended a taping of his show, where his guest was Elliot Spitzer making his first guest appearance since his resignation as governor of New York. The evening ended with Stephen tossing a few Wrist Strong bracelets into the audience; my friend, Nick, caught one and was kind enough to give it to me. I wore it all day yesterday. The last time I saw him was when my entire family attended a taping of "The Daily Show" and we were lucky enough to be present for this magical moment. The entire chase scene can be seen here.
Stephen's entire farewell tour was bittersweet to me. Sweet because he was on his A-game, and it was hilarious. Bitter because I knew the end was near. When he not only made peace with the bears, but admitted that he had been wrong about them all these years, I knew it was truly over. But we had awesome moments, especially over the past two weeks. First was President Obama removing Stephen from his desk and delivering The Word himself; and when I wondered how that could possibly be topped, boom, in comes Smaug! And that's just the tip of the iceberg of nine years of magic.
Last night's show, I won't lie, I teared up a little. But it didn't go where I thought it would. His final guest was ominously announced as being Grimmy, who had already made not one, but two hilariously creepy cameos that felt like they were setting up the death of Stephen Colbert, at least as we know him. But no, Stephen Colbert is immortal because, while little has changed since he went on the air, the work he did will always be remembered. Raising millions of dollars for charity, his work to not only entertain but educate... he did more to show the American people what a SuperPAC actually was and why they are not a good thing than any of the major news networks. And then there was that time he got directly into the face of power and spoke truth. Okay, he did that way more than once, but we all know which one put him on the map. Despite his character being a "well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot", the real Stephen Colbert often shined through, with his charity work, everything he did for our veterans, and his desire to inspire us to all be better toward our fellow man. He is a deeply religious man who teaches Sunday School, and his Sunday School students, well, I hope they know how lucky they are. When the real man shines through, we see a man who is being Christ-like and not just Christian.
Oh yes, he often did have harsh words for those who purposely set out to harm others, as seen above and below.
I think, at the end of it all, the real lesson is exactly what Alex Trebek said:
“All of life’s important answers must be in the form of a question.”
That's the lesson. That's what Stephen has been trying to do for all of us these last nine years. The world is a complicated place, nothing is black and white. There isn't one singular right. There are no easy answers, and don't accept them: not from the media, not from the government, not from big mega-corporations. Don't just follow your gut instinct, educate yourself, make an informed choice, and know that your informed choice might not be someone else's.
I'm going to miss "The Colbert Report" desperately. I want to say the television landscape will not be as bright a place without it, but it wouldn't be as bright a place if it never were. Good night, Stephen. I hope when you got home last night, the first thing you said to your wife was "well, I'm back."
That was fun.