Brace yourself: The final episode of “The Colbert Report” airs tonight. His only scheduled guest is “Grimmy,” the Grim Reaper who periodically stops by to visit him. You may have seen Colbert slow dance with him about the slow burn demise (in his eyes) of the Affordable Care Act. As our favorite pundit sails off into the sunset (the sunset, in this case, being a hosting gig for the “Late Show” on CBS), it’s worth thinking about what we’ll miss when Stephen Colbert stops being “Stephen Colbert.”
Someone thought it would be a good idea to have Stephen Colbert host the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2006, meaning the rest of the world was treated to Colbert ripping into Bush for his administration’s loose relationship with facts, his penchant for posing at sites of natural disasters and his very very low approval ratings. An often stony-faced George W. Bush had to put up with the whole thing. If anyone thought Colbert might be afraid to harshly criticize the most powerful man in the world to his face, they were wrong. It’s hard to imagine too many other comedians being both that brave and that clever, since of course every insult was packaged as a fake compliment from the “Colbert” persona.
His tendency to go all in
After Daft Punk canceled an appearance on his show, Colbert responded by creating a lip sync/dance sequence to the group’s “Get Lucky” that featured an epic slew of celebrity cameos, from Hugh Laurie to Henry Kissinger. Even the cast of “Breaking Bad” shows up. If you didn’t know you needed to see Jeff Bridges shake his bon bon on a staircase with Stephen Colbert, you do now.
His sweetness about his mother
Colbert took a rare moment to break character after his mother died, and credited much of his success to her, getting choked up in the process repeatedly. For a comedian who lived in a persona for years, it felt especially meaningful to watch him share a sincere moment and a glimpse into how he became who he is. Stephen, you can tell us stories about your mom any day.
His bromance with Jon Stewart
We apologize for using the term “bromance,” but the duo’s friendship has been one of the enduring pleasures of having both the “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report.” Though Colbert got his start on the former, the two have been paired together for so long that it’s hard to imagine a “Daily Show” without its counterpart. Any time they appear together is basically a delight, from their own interviews of each other to the live shows they did, so we’re hoping Stewart is an early and frequent guest on the new “Late Show.”
Just being Colbert
When it comes down to it, the reason we’re going to miss his show so much is because it made us laugh for years. And now that he’s going to be playing a talk show host version of himself rather than the pundit version, we probably won’t get to see the goofball who came up with “truthiness” and created a SuperPAC for some time. Here’s hoping he breaks the character out every now and again, just for special occasions.