Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Nation Loses its Fearless Leader

The very last episode ever of The Colbert Report will air tonight. Stephen Colbert will be taking over for David Letterman on The Late Show next year. Although he will still be a nightly presence on television, it just won't be the same. I will be the first to admit that I'm more than a little bit emotional about this.

I've loved Stephen Colbert since his first moments on another one of my favorites, The Daily Show. Back then, he was a correspondent on the comedy news show, one who had an uncanny ability to deadpan the audience.

David Shankbone/Wikipedia
It worked so well that he got his own show, The Colbert Report. The premise of the show has always been a satirical one, with him at the forefront playing a faux conservative host. It amazed me that throughout the show's nine year run, he managed to get people to come on the show who obviously hadn't gotten the memo that he was playing a character.

His interviews with some of the politicians are just priceless.

I mean, can they not know that he's just screwing with them?!?!?! Don't these people have handlers? Do they not understand the show airs on Comedy Central? 

Some of them, far too many of them, thought that the character he was playing was real. And it was awesome to watch.

How he always managed to keep a straight face, I don't know.

Using the show, he's been able to analyze the current events of nearly a decade through this twisted and warped lens, unveiling the hypocrisy of how the political machine often works in this country.

Calling his fans affectionately by the name Nation, he even ran for President twice.

Hell, I'd vote for him, character or otherwise.

I know that he'll still be around, but any performance by him on The Late Show will necessarily be different. First of all, he won't be playing a character anymore. He's been in character for so long that it seems like it is impossible to separate the real him from the fake him. Second, the platform is so vastly different in late night on the major networks. Hosts on those shows have to appeal to a larger audience, be a little tamer, be a little more generic, a little more middle of the road.

I like him on the edge.

I have always adored the show, one different than The Daily Show. The Daily Show has always been a comedic take on the news, yes, but something about the slant of The Colbert Report made it even funnier at its core.

I'm excited to see what he brings to The Late Show, though it will force me to use my DVR for yet another time slot. I'm pretty handily committed to Fallon on The Tonight Show right now, who came in and breathed fresh new life into a show that was so tense and stale that it had become unwatchable under Leno.

Plus, The Roots are the best band in the business right now. Hands down.

Finally, there will be two competing shows in late night that have a decent shot at a ratings war. Finally.

It's just too bad that it had to come at the expense of The Colbert Report. 

In the past week as we've been watching the last shows, I've sighed at the end of each one. My husband laughs at me, but it really is getting to me. It's getting to me because in this day and age, we need more shows like this one, shows that are willing to hold the politicians accountable for their decisions, for their choices, for their votes, for their backers. We need people behind shiny glass desks that will unveil the sordid relationships between corporations and the government, who will tell us the ugly truths, who will point out the gleaming hypocrisy.

We need more shows like this one, not less.

It's a disturbing reflection on the state of journalism in this country when a satirical comedy news show can be more relied on for accuracy in reporting than the major networks.

As a current events junkie, as someone always tuned into the state of affairs, as someone who has dabbled in reporting myself, I'm sad to see this show come to an end.

At least we still have The Daily Show. If Jon Stewart ever leaves that desk, I just don't know what I'll do with myself.

An era ends tonight.

The tears I'll probably shed won't be faux. They'll be real ones, for sure.

Nation, we will soon be losing our fearless leader, but we must go on.

Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger.

Jogs off set, waving wildly to the audience....


  1. :( I have his Ben and Jerry's ice cream in my freezer. And his book on my nightstand. I love Colbert. I'd marry him, if he asked.

  2. I just adore him too! I have lost my best source of news! Smart as a whip, surprisingly endearing and sensitive, searingly honest in exposing corruption, hilarious, silly, handsome, WONDERFUL! Marry,him? Why, of course!


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