Colbert, in true fashion, started the segment without a hitch. In fact, he didn’t even mention that it was his final show until well into the opening monologue. Not even Jon Stewart could wrench some emotion as he checked in with the host one final time. (Don’t feel ashamed if this pulls at your heart strings. We felt it too.)
And then, instead of getting all emotional and mushy, Colbert got gory. His discussion of death and immortality was kind of weird but, well, refer back to the first paragraph. The point was, Colbert attained immortality so… “We’ll meet again!” Cue the huge finale ballad with Jon Stewart, Bryan Cranston, Big Bird, James Franco, Patrick Stewart, Bill Clinton, Katie Couric, Barry Manilow and so many other famous and/or notable friends it was nearly impossible to count. (Cue the Chelsea Handler finale flashbacks only with a more Colbert appropriate crowd… a.k.a., eclectic and unexpected.)
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We’re honestly OK (well, we’re mourning, but we’ll be OK… eventually) without The Colbert Report. We’re not OK in a world without Stephen Colbert. So The Colbert Report is gone after nine seasons and 1,447 episodes. Part of me wants to scream, “Don’t go! Don’t go! Don’t go!” Oh wait… I already did while trying to shake my wall-mounted TV. But now that the tantrum is over and the year is also almost at a close, let’s take a moment to say, “Thank you.”
Thank you, Stephen Colbert, for keeping us informed and entertained in a revolutionary way no one else has been able to capture before you. It was revolutionary, and not just because we came full circle. Thank you for breathing new life into what it means to be a journalist. Thank you for changing the world. And yes, I’d say you definitely had an impact. But most of all, thanks for being a friend. Cronkite may not have had a mascot like you, but he had the trust of the public. And that is something both of you share.
We can’t wait until we meet again. (In September of 2015 when you take over The Late Show.) In the meantime, watch him sing goodbye to the show (it starts around 11 minutes, by the way):