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Dec 19, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Stephen Colbert ‘samed the world’ before signing off for last time

After nine years at The Colbert Report, host said farewell to audiences Thursday night with an emotional tribute that included a star-studded lineup

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Stephen Colbert, RIP.

After nine years at The Colbert Report, the world’s biggest blowhard host said farewell to audiences Thursday night with an emotional tribute that included a star-studded lineup of guests clapping and singing “We’ll Meet Again.” Colbert moves to take over for David Letterman on The Late Show.

The audience chanted “Stephen! Stephen!” While sing-a-long guests included Jon Stewart, Katie Couric, Barry Manilow, George Lucas, Ken Burns, Bryan Cranston and Big Bird.

Even James Franco, star of Sony’s The Interview was on stage belting it out. As if he weren’t in the middle of the biggest entertainment story on the planet. If only Colbert were still around to interview him on North Korea. The trash talking of Kim Jong Un would have been epic.

News satire was around long before Mark Twain dreamed up his own hoax articles and before Colbert used technology, social media and comedic acting to create a three dimensional conduit. But with his final, sharp monologue, Colbert once again proved that a fake newsman can be a more effective barometer for helping cynical audiences understand their world. Wait, maybe even change the world.

Or as Colbert reminded audiences in his sign off: “I did something much harder than change the world. I samed the world. Another Bush is running for the White house. People are defending torture. And we are sending troops into Iraq. I promised you a revolution and I have delivered.”

Colbert also paid tribute to the man who gave him his break, Jon Stewart, the original fake news host, by showing early clips of the two together. Stewart’s The Daily Show begat The Colbert Report.

In May, Colbert takes over from Letterman, whose acidic humour was brilliant and often brittle. Lately, Dave has just seemed tired.

Colbert will be a welcome recharge for the show as it goes up against the resurgent Tonight Show under the hyperkinetic Jimmy Fallon and the social-media savvy of Jimmy Kimmel.

Colbert will likely be a better, sharper interviewer than either of the two incumbents. Fallon, when he is not gushing over his guests, is sometimes incomprehensible, or just juvenile. Kimmel is gracious, but not particularly insightful.

The good news though is that Colbert isn’t quite dead yet. In his final show, he shot death with a handgun to signify he is now “immortal.” He told audiences that his character will live on.

“First impression of immortality. It feels OK. A little lonely. A little snacky,” he commented.

After having conquered death, he rode off with Santa, Abraham Lincoln, and the man who knows it all, Jeopardy’s Canadian host Alex Trebek.

“We’ll always be there for the American people,” said Trebek.

“But aren’t you Canadian?” asked Colbert.

“Yes, but I’ve had dual citizenship since 1998,” said Trebek.

“Ah, that’s not the same,” said Colbert with one last pithy observation, eyes wide as the sleigh heads into the big, moonlit green-screen-generated sky.

Toronto Star

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