After hosting a show for nine years that became a staple in many people’s homes, Stephen Colbert is stepping down from his position as “Stephen Colbert,” host of The Colbert Report, and resuming his role as himself, future host of The Late Show. As a goodbye, here are some very good moments from The Colbert Report. I’m not calling them the best, because there are so many more — some very funny and some that are much more politically important — and also saying something is the best is basically just inviting people to disagree with you. That sounds like the opposite of the best (the worst)!
These are in chronological order because a) That’s an interesting way of looking at things! You can see people age! and b) I’m not exactly sure what the point of ranking something is besides making readers upset because you’re wrong, and once again, not into that. Here are 12 very good clips from nine very good years of Colbert:
The Word - Truthiness (October 2005)
A rare early Colbert clip! (Just playin’, this is not rare at all since it’s actually very easy to find with a quick search-engine search!) In his first installment of popular recurring bit “The Word,” Colbert defines his made-up word that is now a Colbert Classic [TM]: “truthiness.” Real truth, he explains, comes not from your brain but from your gut. That makes a lot of sense, to my stomach.
Laws of Love (February 2006)
From the following year: Colbert celebrates Valentine’s Day with some rules for romance based entirely on successful celebrity couples. Again, I am tempted to describe this clip as “rare,” which once again does not really make sense to say about a clip on the internet. Something that’s actually rare about this sketch, though, is that Colbert breaks character! A very early, very rare, break in character.
Amy Sedaris (July 2006)
Later that year (Hey, chronological order makes transitions super easy!), Colbert had Amy Sedaris come on the show to promote her movie Strangers With Candy. After the interview, she, Colbert, and “Tad the building manager” do a tumbling routine. Weird since according to Colbert these three don’t know each other at all and have definitely never worked together on a TV show, book, or movie! Anyways, this is a very rare but welcome incorporation of gymnastics into an otherwise gymnastics-less show.
2008 Presidential Campaign (October 2007)
By 2007, Colbert had hosted his own show for two years and took the next logical step, starting a presidential campaign in South Carolina. Doritos signed on as his corporate sponsor. There’s not really enough time to research this information, so I don’t know for sure, but I’m pretty sure he became president (????) Very cool!
The WristStrong Saga (2007)
That same year, (President?) Stephen Colbert injured his wrist but refused to let this injury get in his way. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to take a stand against wrist violence and also as an opportunity to sell and give away stylish silicone bracelets with the hope that they would find their way onto the wrists of very famous celebrities. In this case, hope worked.
The Great Late Night Fight (February 2008)
Over the years, Colbert often boasted about “the Colbert bump,” a perceived boost for the careers of people who appeared on his show. After claiming he gave the bump to presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a pretend rivalry and later a full-on pretend brawl surfaced between Colbert, Conan O’Brien, and Jon Stewart, over who really “made" Huckabee. FYI I forgot that if you Google a question it tells you the answer above your search results, so when I searched that just now I found out exactly “who made Huckabee":
Rain Dance-Off (May 2008)
Huh, OK, so I checked … Colbert never became president, weird, and on top of that in 2007 he came in second in Time’s user poll of 100 most influential people, beat by the Korean R&B star Rain. How shameful it must be to not only not be president but also to be #2 at something! Furious, Colbert released his own K-pop–style music video called “He’s Singin’ In Korean,” but the Rain/Colbert feud didn’t end until May 2008 when Rain finally stopped by the show for an official dance-off.
Pap Smears At Walgreens (April 2011)
Another rare clip of Colbert breaking! I’ve had time to think about it over these last several clips and I feel fully comfortable using the word “rare" to describe these now. If you think about it, in most episodes of the show Colbert does not break at all, and here he is breaking, so you have to admit it is pretty rare. What a relief to just be able to say that word: Rare, rare rare rare ra—
James Franco Tolkien Showdown 1 (April 2011)
When James Franco came on the show and said to Colbert, “I’m the biggest Tolkien fan,” it sparked a very heated Hobbit battle between the host and guest. This would be a good place to inject more Lord of the Rings language if I knew more of it. Instead, you can watch the expert and the “expert” face off — the showdown starts at 3:50, and continues in March 2013.
2011: A Rock Odyssey with Jack White (June 2011)
This is so many clips from the same year! 2011: Great year or greatest year??
Judging by his feud with Rain, and his green-screen–inspired feud with The Decemberists, it’s safe to say that Colbert loved a) feuds and b) dedicating segments to interacting with musicians. In 2011 he did the second of these two things, and decided to record his rock ‘n’ roll comeback (having previously been known for his ’80s band Stephen and the Colberts) with the help of producer Jack White. In his three-part series, Colbert bothers White with many ideas, including trying to sell him on a new but familiar yogurt jingle.
Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak (January 2012)
Colbert interviewed Maurice Sendak shortly before the celebrated author’s death. The two talk about children, mainly asking Why bother catering to them with books?? Much like his yogurt pitch to Jack White, Colbert tries pitching a Where the Wild Things Are sequel. The man is full of ideas!
Get Lucky Daft Punk / Colbchella (August 2013)
In 2013, Daft Punk was scheduled to appear on the Report, and when they didn’t show up Colbert did something better. (No offense, Daft Punk, you still seem like very nice robots!)
Rest your soul, The Colbert Report, and thank you for these and many more very good clips.