Network: Comedy Central
Episodes: 1,447 (half-hour)
TV show dates: October 17, 2005 — December 18, 2014
Series status: Ended
Performers include: Stephen Colbert (host)
TV show description:
The popularity and success of Stephen Colbert’s segments on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart inspired this spin-off and counterpart of the hit satirical news program. On this parody of conservative news shows like The O’Reilly Factor, Colbert portrays a right-wing caricature of current political pundits and critiques both politics and the media.
The program opens with teasers for the episode and then Colbert runs through the daily headlines. Each show focuses on a topic which is discussed in the segment called “The WØRD.” As Colbert delivers his commentary, a bullet-point summary appears alongside on screen but the text usually ironically undermines the host’s speech.
The show then features one of its regular segments: “The Craziest F#?king Thing I’ve Ever Heard” which details a bizarre news story; “Formidable Opponent” in which Colbert faces off with himself to debate a particular topic; in “Movies that are Destroying America” Colbert reviews films but admits to only having seen its trailer; “Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger,” has Colbert commending or condemning people or stories in the news; and in “Better Know a District,” Colbert interviews a U.S. Representative.
Colbert also comically interviews a author or celebrity guest on each episode but the host typically dominates the conversation.
Following a standing ovation, Colbert sits at his desk and discusses a Texas plumber’s truck that ended up in Syria. He shares that parts of his set were sold for $313,420 to benefit charity. He discusses his legacy (and thanks the audience) as part of the final edition of The Word: “Same to You, Pal.”
Colbert’s final shout out is aimed at The Prescott Group and features Doctor Colbert accidentally shooting Grimmy the Grim Reaper. To get rid of the gun, he tosses it to a guy in the audience who promptly shoots himself in the leg. He’s fearful at first and then shouts, “Wait a minute! I just killed Death! That means I am immortal! Nothing can stop me now!”
Returning from the commercial break, Colbert thanks the mortal audience and nots, “I’m ending The Colbert Report and I was going to say goodbye, but now that I’ll live forever… who knows? I guess what I’m trying to say is…” and Colbert starts singing We’ll Meet Again. With Randy Newman on the keyboard, he’s joined by Jon Stewart and then dozens and dozens of familiar faces.
They include: Willie Nelson, Bryan Cranston, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Francis Collins, Tom Brokaw, Mandy Patinkin, Lil’ Buck, Yo Yo Ma, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sam Waterston, Jeff Daniels, Cyndi Lauper, Big Bird, Trevor Potter (Colbert PAC lawyer), Keith Olbermann, Andrew Sullivan, David Hallberg, Katie Couric, Ken Burns, Ric Ocasek, Charlie Rose, Samantha Power, Michael Stipe, James Franco, Cookie Monster, Toby Keith, Dean Kamen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Gregory, Jeff Tweedy, Christiane Amanpour, Sir Patrick Stewart, Andy Cohen, Bill de Blasio, Andrew Young. U.S. Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno (who once shaved Colbert’s head), Barry Manilow,George Saunders, Stone Phillips, Peter Frampton, Arianna Huffington, Naquasia Legrand (fast food worker and activist), Alan Alda, Cory Booker, George Lucas, Alexi Lalas, Jonathan Batiste, Elijah Wood, Henry Kissinger, Mike Huckabee, Bob Costas, Tim Meadows, Jake Tapper, astronaut Garrett Reisman, Lesley Stahl, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Terry Gross, Jeffrey Toobin, Norm Ornstein, Shepard Fairey, Emily Bazelon, David Leonhardt, Matt Taibbi, Steven Pinker, Jonathan Alter, Eliot Spitzer, Nate Silver, Thomas Friedman, David Remnick, Paul Krugman, Jim Cramer, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), Richard Clarke, Jimmy Wales, Grover Norquist, Maureen Dowd, Paul Rieckhoff, and Katrina vanden Heuvel. Dan Savage, Robert Pinsky, Mark Cuban, Cass Sunstein, Joe Quesada (Marvel Comics artist), plus Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless, and members of Colbert’s family. Appearing via clips were Pussy Riot, Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad creator, still in captivity), the show’s staff, US forces in Afghanistan, President Bill Clinton, astronaut Terry Virts on the International Space Station, and J.J. Abrams.
The episode ends on the roof of the studio where Colbert stands holding Sting the sword and Captain America’s shield. He wonders aloud what to do next when Santa Claus arrives in his sleigh — with Abraham Lincoln (who actually is a unicorn) and Alex Tribek, the man with all the answers. He’s invited to come aboard. They take off in the sleigh together and disappear behind the moon. The end?
Not quite. We see Colbert asleep on Tribek’s shoulder. He’s awoken up in time to say a final goodbye. Looking at the camera, Colbert says, “Well folks, we’ve finally come to the end of The Colbert Report. Nine great years, 1,447 wonderful episodes. I’ve just got too many people to thank. First and foremost, everybody who worked so hard every day to make something special , all of our friends and family putting up with our long hours, the network for giving us a chance to begin with, and of course all of the guests who came on, thousands and thousands, there’s just too many to thank so I’ll just thank Mavis Staples. Mavis, if you could just call everybody tomorrow, that would be great. Thanks. Oh, and you the Colbert Nation. We couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for being such a big part of it. That was fun! Okay. Anyway, that’s the show. From eternity, I’m Stephen Colbert. Jon?”
At his desk from The Daily Show, Stewart says peacefully, “Thanks for that report, Stephen. Now here’s your moment of Zen.” That’s followed by a clip of the two friends joking around during a toss clip. As the credits roll, the studio audience can be heard going wild.
Some guests identified by Talking Points Memo.
First aired: December 18, 2014.
What do you think? Do you like The Colbert Report TV show? Do you wish that it had run longer?