After nine years and 1,447 episodes of sheer comedy genius, The Colbert Report comes to an end. Though I’m sad to see it over, I’m happy to say that Thursday night’s finale did the show justice. Thankfully, rather than focusing on a clip show style episode just rehashing his greatest hits, Colbert delivered an excellent finale that had the right blend of fresh humor that we’ve grown accustomed to, along with callbacks to previous episodes throughout the years. Longtime members of the Colbert Nation said goodbye, not just to the host himself, but to some of the show’s most popular recurring segments as well: segments such as ‘Prescott Pharmaceuticals,’ ‘The Word,’ and ‘Cheating Death with Doctor Stephen T. Colbert.’
This week’s ‘Word,’ one of the most popular segments on the show, included flashbacks to some of Colbert’s greatest moments, which he referred to as his influence on TV and on history.
The final ‘Cheating Death’ segment was very different from previous ones. While it was long speculated that Death, aka Grimmy, would kill Stephen Colbert’s alter ego this episode, during the segment, Stephen actually killed Grimmy instead. By killing Death, Colbert declared that he had become immortal. This is very fitting, as I truly believe that The Colbert Report will be immortalized in Television and Comedy history, and will always be remembered.
For an in-studio finale, Stephen was joined by Jon Stewart for a farewell song (“We’ll Meet Again”), with Randy Newman on the piano, followed by a star-studded host of guests to join in the farewell. These included actors, musicians, journalists, politicians, and even fictional characters. Just to name a few of the cameos: Bryan Cranston, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Big Bird, Katie Couric, James Franco, Sir Patrick Stewart, George Lucas, NJ Senator Cory Booker, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Vince Gilligan, Bill Clinton (tweeting), JJ Abrams, and Smaug. Also in the song were Troops in Afghanistan, his staff, Colbert’s alter-egos, and an astronaut in the International Space Station. It was great seeing these former guests, friends of the show, and celebrities here together in one place for a final good bye.
Keith Olbermann was present at the finale, and tweeted this picture of Stephen and Jon together in this emotional moment. After all, this started with these two, as Colbert began this journey as a Daily Show correspondent. Though Colbert branched out in 2005 for his spin-off show, Jon has played a constant presence in Colbert’s life, both as an executive producer of the show, and as a good friend.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) December 19, 2014
After the song, we returned from break to find Stephen standing on top of the studio building, when he’s joined by Santa, Unicorn Abe Lincoln, and Alex Trebek on a sleigh. Stephen got on the sleigh and together they flew off into the night.
For the closing scene, Stephen woke up from a nap on the sleigh, said bye to the audience, and signed off for one last time. The segment then shifted over to Jon Stewart sitting at his Daily Show desk, who closes the show with a ‘Moment of Zen.’ It was a very meta moment, as they format it so that all of The Colbert Report looks like a long report on the The Daily Show, bringing everything full circle. The ‘Moment of Zen’ was a 2010 blooper with the two friends shown side-by-side split screen at their respective desks, joking around and having a good time, and showing the essence of their relationship and the nature of their shows.
Thank you for nine years of great comedy, and for providing people with an escape from the absurdities of life, media, and politics. Thank you for setting the bar so high, for aspiring comedy writers such as myself to strive toward. Above all else, thank you for always giving every episode your 100%. I’ll never forget my time attending a screening of The Colbert Report and being able to ask Stephen a question, and being teased for my weak hand raising skills. Stephen did so much throughout the series run (to name a few, running for Office, going overseas to perform for the troops, interviewing world leaders, twerking with Death, saving the Winter Olympics, The Rally to Restore Insanity and/or Fear). Although the ending of this show is sad, this is the start of a new chapter. No doubt Stephen will kill it as the new host of The Late Show. In a television landscape with more misses than hits, The Colbert Report was a beacon showing that good comedy and satire still exist. I know he’ll continue to do great things, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. Goodbye for now Stephen, but we’ll meet again.