It’s over folks! After nine years on air, the final episode of The Colbert Report aired last night on Comedy Central. Of course, it was a schmaltzy affair, with an incredibly long rendition of wartime classic We’ll Meet Again, before Stephen flew off into eternity with Santa and Abraham Lincoln, but why the hell not? It was perfectly in keeping with Colbert’s brilliant creation, perhaps one of the best and sharpest satirical creations of the last few decades, Stephen Colbert, the apparently right-wing Christian conservative pundit-cum-anchor man.
Taking the piss out of pundit blowhards like Bill O’Reilly and the frankly insane Sean Hannity, by emulating their grotesque stances and belief structures, Colbert was able to poke serious fun at both the establishment and its media propaganda arm, Fox News, through clever rhetoric, sharp imitation – expressed through a hilariously exaggerated example of narcissism and self-love – and, yes, downright lovable silliness.
Of course, the critical satire won’t just vanish. Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show on Comedy Central will still be going strong and we can look forward to another series of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO soon. Those guys are great, but they are very much themselves. The wonder of Colbert was how believable he was in his role at his ‘Nation’s favorite mouthpiece for, as he called it, “truthiness”. So believable, in fact, he was booked for by the White House during the reign of Dubya at the 2006 Correspondents’ Dinner to give the main speech, doubtlessly because the humorless dickweeds of that particular administration had no concept of irony. It’s still amazing, even now. Watch it for yourselves if you don’t believe me:
See? Genius. How can you not miss that? While Stephen Colbert the actual person moves on to take over from talk show host David Letterman on the Late Show, he lives behind him a massive empty space and a country devoid of one of its funniest satirists and, more importantly, one of its greatest truthtellers. Damn it, I miss him already.
All things considered, it only seems right to give the man himself the last word: