Stephen Colbert’s Last Night In Town

But we thought he was gone
But he’s come back again
Last week it was funny
And now the joke’s wearin’ thin
‘Cause everyone knows now
That every night now
Will be Stephen’s last night in town

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, the Colbert Report ended on Dec. 18, 2014. For good. The character is unlikely to follow the real Colbert to CBS’ Late Show meaning that faithful Thursday was really Stephen’s last night in town.

(I’m aware that Ben Folds spells it “Steven” but I put the ph version in the lyrics because we aren’t talking about Steve Carell)

It’s been almost a month but I’m still having an issue absorbing this news, will we ever know what Prescott Pharmaceuticals puts out next? Will we ever wonder wistfully about the Word? How will I know that bears are truly the greatest threat to America, a premise confirmed by then-Senator Barack Obama? If it doesn’t feel like it’s truly over, in my gut, how can I believe the books/newspapers that tell me so?

Worse, the talented actor will only begin his late night show on September 8, 2015 — nine days without Stephen Colbert is difficult, nine months seems impossible. As the character put it best: “I still needs my fix.”

Before dwelling on the distant Colbert-less dystopia of a future we’ve got to discuss the Grand Finale of an episode (albeit briefly as it’s been dissected more than any finale since Lost).

The last two series that I’ve been deeply invested in, How I Met Your Mother and The Newsroom, ended with a whimper. I even contemplated if a beloved series could end well — but the Colbert Report completed their run with a roar and an exclamation point.

It had (almost) all the throwbacks you could want (the word, truthiness, Sweetness, Charlene, Audience Guy Carl, Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle, bears, Olympics, rally to keep fear alive, Olympics, Super PAC, Cheating Death, Jon Stewart and SO many more) — it was a true celebration for everything. It was so good I encourage you to watch it again right here and now (go ahead, I’ll wait).

The utter brilliance from the news segment to the Word to cheating (and then killing) Death. In the experience of the show, the staff took the mundane to the crazy and brought it into absurdity — it was pure perfection. It would have just been wrong for the man (myth and legend) to be killed after cheating death/Grimmy so many times and I’m truly thankful that they didn’t go that route.

The ending had a blissful, cheerful tone thanks to the music, guests and hopeful words (from the song ‘We’ll meet again’ to Colbert, in eternity, saying “this was fun” to the Stewart-Colbert toss interaction). But it also had a poignant edge, as much of the show’s satire contained, with ending with Holland, 1945 (played at many of his tapings). If you haven’t heard that story yet I’ll let Slate recap it.

It was a half hour of comedy perfection, up there with any ending I’ve ever seen in TV. The joke wasn’t wearing thin in the slightest, the man is just getting a call up to the Bigs.

I don’t want to overstate the importance of the show, but I’m not sure that’s even possible at the point. The amount of joy it brought me and millions of others so consistently is amazing. The amount of knowledge it gave to the Nation is incredible.

Let’s not speculate on what kind of show this group of writers (I understand that most are going to CBS), producers, crew and (of course) host will bring to broadcast. We’ll have plenty of time to do that as we count the days until September.

I’m writing this to celebrate the Stephen Colbert I saw on television four nights a week for what feels like forever (and since I now know how to trust my gut instead of facts, thanks Stephen!, I can say it was forever). The “well-intentioned, poorly informed high-status idiot” proved undeniably brilliant to watch and taught us a great many things.

Goodbye to the character who truly was the greater — no, GREATEST — fool.


~ by realfactsandbeer on January 17, 2015.

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