- the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true
Back on October 17th in 2005, Stephen Colbert first anointed the word “truthiness” on the first episode of The Colbert Report to satirize the irony of Bush politics. By 2006, both Merriam-Webster and the American Dialect Society recognized truthiness as the word of the year and now just about everyone from newscasters to social media bloggers use truthiness in their day-to-day lives. On Thursday night on the final episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen recalled the impact that truthiness had on the world and by an extent the show’s. Stephen has had a NASA treadmill, a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor, and a hockey team named after him, he had filmed the show in Iraq back in 2009, he began a presidential campaign sponsored by Doritos, he helped support the U. S. Olympic speed skating team in 2010, he skewered George W. Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, he created his own Super PAC, and led the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear with Jon Stewart. More importantly, Colbert managed to complete all of these accomplishments and the show in his character, a right-wing Bill O’Reilly/Sean Hannity-like commentator, and always kept a straight face. Even during interviews, Stephen maintained his faux blowhard and egomaniacal persona, an almost impossible task.
Colbert rarely broke character on air and that he managed to keep his material fresh and relevant for over nine years made him a pop-culture icon. Stephen demonstrated much adversity back when he was a correspondent on The Daily Show but on The Colbert Report, he expanded his personality. The Colbert Report did not only provide biting commentary on politics or cable news, but satirical insight on sports, culture, and the social media. Stephen’s enthusiasm and energy made The Colbert Report so special and unique.
So after almost ten years of glory, Stephen Colbert has decided to move over to CBS to take over the reigns of The Late Show. While Stephen’s the perfect candidate to replace David Letterman, I’ll miss the character Colbert gave life to that brought me entertainment and insight over the past decade. It’s impossible to sum up the majesty and brilliance of The Colbert Report in a short piece, but Stephen did an amazing job as he capped of the series on Thursday, a nostalgic and sentimental farewell that was an almost pitch-perfect note of conclusion for the character.
The episode started as many Colbert Report episodes do, featuring an opening monologue and an installment of “The Word.” But the segment “Cheating Death” took a surprising turn as Stephen killed Grimmy, the night’s billed guest who has appeared on The Report over the past few months. Now having conquered death, Stephen reminisced about The Colbert Report before joining an all-star celebrity cast that ranged from George Lucas and Vince Gilligan (the latter still chained in Colbert’s basement) to Henry Kissinger and Charlie Rose for a sing-along of “We’ll Meet Again.” That moment alone parodies the conventions of series’ finales while embracing them in a balance that works perfectly. Not only is funny (filled to the brim with references that die-hard Colbert fans such as myself would recognize) but nostalgic, representing all of what Colbert has accomplished on Comedy Central.
In the final minutes of The Colbert Report after joining a sled that included Santa Clause, a unicorn Abraham Lincoln, and Alex Trebek, Stephen broke out of character to thank everyone who has worked with him before turning back to Jon Stewart in an interlude often featured when Colbert worked on The Daily Show, suggesting that The Colbert Report had just been a segment for Stewart. It reminded me how far Colbert has climbed up since then and how his dedication has brought him so far. The Colbert Report has arguably exceeded even The Daily Show in mining the paradoxes that inhabit our day-to-day lives and I’ll miss the series dearly. But I know Colbert will do well on CBS and I’m certain he will shine again.