"Some people promise to read the news to you. I promise to feel the news at you."
The Colbert Report (pronounced Col-bear Re-pore) is the Emmy award winning (Best Writing - Variety, 2008 and 2010) Spin-Off from The Daily Show, featuring the screen persona of news anchor Stephen Colbert. The show operates as a parody of news talk programs such as The O'Reilly Factor. (When the show was pitched as "Stephen Colbert parodying Bill O'Reilly", it was picked up immediately without even a pilot.) It airs on Comedy Central.The character of Colbert himself can be best described as a Strawman Political of a news pundit, a mega-conservative who embodies all the stereotypes about conservative people in one convenient shell; indeed, most of Colbert's political jokes are little more than strawman-arguments of the opposition. Much like its progenitor, it reads the real news in a humorous tone. It's also coined the words "truthiness" and "wikiality". The latter one is a portmanteau of Wikipedia and reality: basically the practice of Rewriting Reality by bringing democracy to information. "If enough people agree on it, it becomes true" — the example given being Colbert's assertion that elephant populations had tripled since 31 January 2006.note Hilarious in Hindsight — the elephant population of South Africa has ballooned to the point where they are being given vasectomies by the Elephant Management Program.Differs from its mother show in that it's a kind of Sitcom with guest stars playing themselves and a funny premise. Whereas The Daily Show is mainly Jon Stewart reading the news and making funny observations, The Colbert Report revolves around a character and his interaction with the real world. There are recurring characters and plot points (such as Colbert's broken wrist). Indeed, during the show's first year of existence, Colbert even had a fictional Arch-Enemy in the form of fellow comedian David Cross, who played fictional liberal talking head "Russ Lieber" before the character was written out of the series.It should probably be noted (or perhaps not) that Stephen Colbert, the fake news anchor, is, in fact, a character that Stephen Colbert, professional comedian, is playing. He does not believe the views he espouses on the show (for the most part), and has referred to the character as "a well-meaning, poorly informed, high-status idiot."
This show contains examples of:
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Actor Allusion: When showing a collection of clips of Mitt Romney's laughter (which Colbert says is his sign for others to stop talking), the last clip is of Phil Seben's laughter.
Which he then uses to shamelessly (and hilariously) advertise the DVD.
Stephen: I'm hitting the gym, getting pretty cut. And I'm shedding pounds by not cooking with butter. Instead I use it to grease up my body when I work out. That way, none of those stroke gays, or stro-mos as we call them at the gym, can get a handle on me.
Alter Ego Acting: Colbert in character and Colbert out of character are two very different people.
Altum Videtur: Stephen's fireplace has 'VIDERI QUAM ESSE' engraved on it. Appropriately enough, the fireplace houses a monitor that displays an image of flickering burning logs.
Stephen turns Rick Santorum's Iraq War Lord of the Rings analogy into a an analogy backfire. Can be seen here. Since Stephen is a big LOTR fan, he probably couldn't wait to sink his teeth into that one.
Anal Probing: A segment about an "Alien Hunter," Derrel Simms, sees Mr. Simms recount a story about him being probed by aliens in his youth. After describing the alien probe in very phallic terms, Colbert interrupts him in a voice over just before Simms was about to say where the probe was "jammed very painfully," exclaiming, "Okay, that's enough; I think we all know where the probe goes." Simms then reveals that it went into his nasal passage.
Early episodes featured David Cross playing Russ Lieber, a liberal inversion of Colbert's character, who over-thinks everything and is so hesitant to offend that he can't make a single statement without backpedaling.
In one of his Daily Show/Colbert Report conversations at the end of the Daily Show, Colbert claimed that his original arch enemy from his Daily Show years, Steve Carell, continues to hold the position as well.
Asian Speekee Engrish: Ching Chong Ding Dong, who spouts stereotypical lines like, "Ooooh, me rikey tea!" Colbert freely admits that the character is extremely racist, but he's not racist for performing the character, because Ching Chong Ding Dong is speaking through him.
Attention Whore: Mocked. Stephen inverts the traditional interview, where the subject comes onto the set to a round of applause. Instead, the subject sits in a corner of the set and Stephen does a victory lap to get the applause for himself before beginning the interview.
Award Snub: invoked Stephen regularly invokes this, complaining about the show or the man himself not winning awards, some of which he wouldn't even qualify for.
Background Halo: done deliberately; when the camera is facing Colbert's desk straight-on, stars circle his head.
Berserk Button: During an interview with Neil Irvin Painter she refers to the Scots Irish as properly Irish. Colbert promptly corrects (2:10) her with: "There's no Irish blood in Scots-Irish People. They are Scottish Presbyterians, who were given land in Ireland. THEY TOOK OUR LAND AND DROVE MY PEOPLE ACROSS THE RIVER SHANNON, WHERE WE WERE FORCED TO FARM ROCKS BY OLIVER CROMWELL AND I WILL SEE HIM ROT IN HELL BEFORE YOU CALL SCOTS-IRISH PEOPLE IRISH! DO YOU WANNA FIGHT?!" Then they arm wrestle.
Do not steal his Super PAC money (Jon Stewart) or call him out on pointless spending (Nancy Pelosi)- he will chase you down and make you pay.
Big "NO!": Colbert is extremely fond of this trope. For example, after seeing how terrible he looks in pink.
Stephen: I LOOK TERRIBLE IN PINK! I'M A WINTER!
Also, when sugar runs low, he panics and tears into a whole bag.
When Stephen was discussing parallel universes, he was suddenly replaced with a long-haired pipe-smoking hippie counterpart who wanted to solve the Iraq war by making everyone share M&M's and hug each other. Also, Esteban Colberto who in our universe hosts the Spanish News/Variety show "Colberto Reporto Gigante" complete with "Chicas".
Black Comedy: on his 6/27/2013 show, in response to Mayor Bloomburg wanting to ban sparklers from the 4th of July celebrations, Stephen got his fire marshal to wear an uncle Sam style hat and fake beard and hold a lit sparkler. It then cuts to technical difficulties, followed by Stephen comforting said fire marshal's wife, and then lighting a sparkler as a way to mourn her. Technical difficulties show up again, then we see Stephen comforting the couple's two children before giving them sparklers to play with. As they walk off, he yells "Oh, and kids, remember those need parental super-...they'll be fine."
During his appearance on the show in September 2011, Al Gore mentioned Colbert's "character." Holding back laughter, Colbert responded: "My character? What the hell are you talking about, sir? ... Well, 'Al Gore', thank you so much for joining us." Later when he signed off, Colbert said, air quotes included, "For The Colbert Report,I'm 'Stephen Colbert.' "
Brick Joke: Because segments of "The Word" take so long to get back to the initial Word, it sometimes takes the viewer by surprise.
Also a Running Gag. Michael Stipe (formerly of R.E.M.) lives on Stephen's bookshelf.
In the May 10, 2012 episode, Stephen tells a story of a monkey who had accidentally swallowed a peanut, causing the zookeeper to lick the monkey's butt (in order for the monkey to defecate). At the end of the episode, Stephen pulls out a can of Planter's.
Under The Mistletoe: A running gag. Stephen ends up under the mistletoe with everyone who comes inside his cabin except Santa and Elvis, but only ends up kissing the aforementioned bear, everyone else finding a way out of it.
Clip Show: The Global Editions, though a couple include original sketches.
And Ham-Rove, a canned pressed ham with glasses that came about because Karl Rove looks like one.
Cone of Shame: Stephen wears one while recovering from a broken wrist. He attempts to pour drugs into his mouth. One wonders how he got the bottle open.
Conspiracy Theorist: In one segment, Colbert profiles a man named Andrew who claims that, in 1967, he was teleported to Mars in a top secret government CIA project that teleported hundreds of children. The man's roommate was apparently President Barack Obama. The next part is about a birth certificate conspiracy theorist who thinks that Obama was married to his college roommate. Colbert then combines the two to claim that Obama was in a gay marriage with Andrew.
Corpsing: Stephen tends to break character and laugh over some of the more ridiculous lines, or at least grin the whole time he's saying them. There is an actual video tag on his site called "cracks up" for when he does this. He and Jon Stewart have done this to each other quite often; if one of them loses it, the other will soon follow.
An extreme case: when combining the names of celebrities who are in relationships, for William H Macy and Felicity Huffman, he corpsed for a minute before finally spitting out the result: Filliam H Muffman.
Crowd Chant: Stephen Colbert often leads his audience in chants of "U.S.A!" or "I was right!" in this rhythm. And, of course, the show usually starts with enthusiastic chants of "Ste-ven!"
Crying Wolf: Stephen warns about crying wolf or rather crying zombie in the end of this clip about college students playing zombie tag. According to Stephen this game will leave us vulnerable when the rage virus escapes.
Cult: "So congratulations Apple [on your new iPad]. Speaking of cults— [Happyology]."
Cute Kitten: On March 5, 2009, while discussing the imploding U.S. Economy with Jim Cramer of CNBC, Colbert had videos of kittens and puppies playing behind Mr. Cramer, saying that this would make people feel better about the economy.
He couldn't help but admit that Rain dressed up in a hedgehog costume was adorable. Or that Rain in general is adorable.
Dagwood Sandwich: After seeing a burger where the buns were replaced with grilled cheese sandwiches, Colbert contemplated a grilled cheese sandwich where the bread was replaced with grilled cheese sandwiches... ad infinitum. "Prepare yourselves nation, for I have invented... The Mobius Melt", a sandwich that you theoretically cannot stop eating. He then recalls his other favorite fractal sandwich, the "Mandelbrot BLT — the more you zoom in, the more bacon there is. What will explode first, your heart, or your mind?"
Inverted. The "official" Colbert Report drinking game is to take a drink every time Stephen criticizes America. "That's right; he doesn't. Stay sober and vigilant!"
At the RNC, he took a drink every time he saw an old white guy.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Done jokingly with Bobby the stage manager (Eric Drysdale), who was barbecued and eaten by Stephen in his farewell appearance. When Bobby's ghost came back for a guest spot like a kind of Jacob Marley, Stephen ate the ghost, too.
Droste Image: The portrait in the studio of Stephen is one of these, more so with each passing year. The original portrait showed Stephen standing in front and to the left of a portrait of himself. In the show's first episode, at one point Stephen came back from a commercial break standing in front and to the left of the portrait saying "What's the most important thing a TV journalist needs? Humility." Each anniversary the portrait has been replaced with a new one showing Stephen standing in front of the previous one:
1st: To the left
2nd: To the right, arms crossed, glowering over his lack of an Emmy
3rd: To the left, holding an Emmy
4th: To the right, wearing a military uniform and haircut, saluting (in honor of his visit to Iraq)
5th: To the left, wearing an olive wreath on his head (in honor of the Report's sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic speedskating team), with the Grammy he won for A Colbert Christmas hung like an Olympic medal around his neck
6th: To the right, holding the F.E.C. ruling allowing him to form his SuperPAC
7th: To the left, holding a copy of his book America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't
8th: To the right, holding his two Emmys.
Eagle Land: Stephen is so patriotic he fathered a baby Bald Eagle. The San Francisco Zoo named a newly hatched male bird 'Stephen Jr.' Really, all you need to know about the show is that the eagle in the opening credits is named Liberty.
Enforced Plug: Stephen parodies this often with Doritos, once even spending an entire week on location in "Chili-delphia, the city of brotherly crunch." In a weird sort of reverse Product Placement, Doritos hadn't actually paid him when he started the gag, but apparently a deal has been reached involving the large exchange of Nacho Cheese Doritos.
Even the Guys Want Him: While in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games, a camera pan over the crowd revealed one cardboard sign bearing the words "Marry me Stephen! (It's legal here!)"
Eye Scream: Recommended as a way for republican candidates to stop talking about rape, after a slew of them made some questionable remarks about it. Specifically, he perscribed jabbing a pencil in their eye, up to their brain cavity and poking at their brain until thoughts of mentioning rape go away.
Food Porn: One of Stephen's SuperPAC ads blasts other SuperPACs for pandering to Iowa voters with "cheap cornography" and says Iowans deserve better, and then shows slow-motion footage of corn set to porn music.
Freudian Excuse: It's strongly suggested that a lot of Colbert's problems stem from childhood trauma - for example, his hatred of books (a shelf fell on him). His actual fear and hate of bears stems from a recurring nightmare Stephen had as a child where bears would maul him to death for apparently no reason.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Apparently, Stephen Colbert refers to his Australian Formula 401 cans' contents as crock juice. He himself finds it so funny that immediately afterwords, he has to pause to regain his composure and NOT laugh.
Several of his SuperPAC heroes have included: Suq Madiq, Harry Balzac, Harry Balsagna, Apoop Mapanz, and Mike Clitoris. And let's not forget the one that really made him crack up — Munchma Quchi.
During a segment about monkeys learning how to buy things and read sexually hypnotic billboards, Stephen somehow got away with showing a monkey vagina on live TV. Is he a censor wizard? You bet your ass he is!
Graceful Loser: Jon Stewart shows up to tell Stephen that he bears no ill will over the Colbert Report breaking his Emmy winning streak. Subverted because, as an Executive Producer of the Colbert Report, Stephen's Emmy also belongs to him.
As of August 2011 he has a chicken and bars of gold stored under there, along with other potential forms of currency if the economy collapses. In February 2012 he produced two kittens, named Whiskers and Other Whiskers.
Any more references needed, just see the list of videos helpfully categorized under the tag "Under the Desk."
Hamster Wheel Power: Stephen once suggested puppies licking peanut butter off turbine blades could make them spin as a source of alternative energy.
Rare for this show, this instance happened to be unintentional. On the topic of Texas governor Rick Perry's inarticulacy, Colbert said, "Some of our greatest presidents have been tongue-tied on occasion," backing it up with a clip from George W. Bush's "Fool Me Once" flob. "Is that intelligible? No. That sounds like the fevered ramblings of a syphilitic brain." Colbert then finished his diatribe with a flob.
Stephen Colbert informs Seth Meyers that making fun of the news is inappropriate.
Insult to Rocks: In the midst of heaping abuse on Canton, Kansas, Stephen says that converting the town to a landfill would be an insult to landfills.
Intentional Engrish for Funny: Happens in one episode where he discusses a Chinese millionaire who was killed by poisoned cat stew. He says that this doesn't affect his Chinese canned cat meat stew, "Colonel Tuxedo's Happy Joy Power Cat With Eating". Its motto is "Reliable Sting of Pleasure, Trustworthy of Lunch".
Internet Counterattack: Invoked frequently. Notable instances include a campaign to get a bridge in Hungary named after him through internet voting, and against Wikipedia to enforce "wikiality."
He also had an angry rant very similar to Bill O'Reilly.
It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: The Colbear Repore. The T in 'Report' is silent, because "it's French, bitch" and because his name also ends in a silent 't'.
Except when Stephen gets upset, when he'll pronounce it differently to himself.
"Snap out of it, Col-burt!"
During the Writers Strike of 2007, when Colbert would go on the air without his writing staff, he would deliberately refer to the show as "The Colbert Report" as a sign of solidarity with his writers.
His lawyer brother uses the family's pronunciation of Colburt, when asked by Stephen on which he prefers.
It's All About Me: The entire premise of the show is that it is all about the Colbert character, and the stories, the set and the introductory sequence all fuel his self-aggrandizing egomania.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Stephen Colbert the character is a jerk, but he can't help but let his heart of gold shine through on occasion. Especially when he is helping various charities.
Kayfabe: This is what makes it so hard for many people to "get" the show or the character. Is he sending a message this time, or is he just making people laugh? Is what the character Colbert says what the real Colbert thinks, or its exact opposite? Well, he keeps the line very blurred.
Colbert once testified to Congress, under oath. In character.
On the other hand, he'll talk to the audience out of character off-camera, "to humanize myself in your eyes before I say these terrible things."
Kick the Dog: In an effort to be declared the Worst Person in the World by Olbermann, Stephen slapped a baby with a puppy. Could have been seen here if it wasn't for the fact that there was an unfortunate technical mishap preventing anyone from seeing it happen.
Kill the Poor: Stephen has, on at least one occasion, equated the "War on Poverty" with the "War on Drugs" and has wondered why we haven't yet made poverty illegal.
During one banter segment with Jon Stewart at the end of The Daily Show's 10th Anniversary episode, Colbert remarked about how Stewart's show is all about supporting "the underdog" and Colbert can't believe how he ever backed that "losing horse." That's why Colbert on his own show now supports "the overdog" (specifically, big business). When concluding his point, Colbert quotes the Trope Namer!
When offering solutions to help the poor and unemployed without having to raise taxes for the wealthy, Colbert suggested that rich people should buy the natural rights of poorer individuals and took Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal seriously, calling for poor children to be sold as food for extra cash.
Colbert wants the Occupy Wall Street "pity party" to end so that Wall Street can get back to their own party—snorting the ground up bones of the poor.
The Krampus: Stephen decides to join forces with Krampus to fight the eeeeeevil liberal secularists' War on Christmas. He offers Krampus some cookies and milk, which Krampus promptly whips with a rusty chain, then threatens to drag Stephen to Hell.
Kwyjibo: When it is announced that Scrabble will allow proper names to be used Stephen announces his new middle name Qxyzzy. In short, he's made up a word worth an obnoxious amount of points.
Logical Fallacies: Colbert's own special brand of tortured logic permeates just about every explanation or piece of reasoning on the show. The lead-up to the epic Mêlée à Trois ran on a deeply bizarre use of "the transitive property of Huckabee". Not to mention his method of deducing everything from the truth about the Illuminati to the results of the 2008 presidential election, which consists of him free-associating words at random.
Loophole Abuse: In a segment ofFormidable Opponent where Stephen debates himself one of the Stephens argue that torture is constitutional. The constitution might forbid cruel and unusual punishment but that's not a problem according to Stephen if torture is used so often it is no longer unusual.
Stephen's campaign to get a bridge named after himself in Hungary on the grounds that there was no rule stating the namesake of the bridge had to be Hungarian. He later found out they did have to speak the language, however (and to be dead).
Marty Stu: invoked Tek Jansen, hero of Colbert's Space Opera novel, which is presented on the show in the form of animated shorts, and has inspired a Spin-OffGraphic Novel. He's Badass to the Nth degree, is unbelievably good-looking, can bed any female he likes (even the non-humans)...and looks just like Colbert.
This of course is Aragorn's sword Andúril, Flame of the West, forged from the shards of Narsil, given to me by Viggo Mortensen. Now, this has nothing to do with the metaphor — I just want to remind everyone that I have this.
Mood Whiplash: Any time that a serious tragedy occurs, the tone can get pretty somber at times, in sharp contrast to the comedic aspect of the show.
Colbert: Oh? That's ok? A coma patient, an old man with a feeding tube. But heaven forbid we make one perforated colon reference.
Moral Event Horizon: Invoked and parodied. In order to be named Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person In The World" Colbert promised to slap a baby with a puppy. The actual slapping is conspicuously covered up by a "Technical Difficulties" screen.
Motor Mouth: The Nicene Creed. Also shown when you mention he's the youngest of eleven children: "JimmyEddieMaryBillyMargoTommyJayLuluPaulPeterStephen."
When Ricky Martin came out as gay, Stephen showed that he's a longtime Martin fan by playing a (fake) clip of himself as a local news anchor. In the clip, Stephen mentions "She Bangs," which was recorded in 2000, as a "new song." Stephen actually joined The Daily Show in 1997, suggesting there may be some overlap between his fake past and his time on the show.
Mr. Fanservice: Seriously, don't believe us? Three words: Jane Fonda Interview. It's all the proof you need. Invoked with Sexy Hotdog Man.
Mundane Made Awesome: Colbert loves this trope, and rarely passes up an opportunity to use it. The more mundane the topic, the more awesome the presentation.
The character of Stephen Colbert himself is pretty much an example. Dramatic, exciting music, and over-the-top graphic effects to introduce...someone to present the news. On a fake news show. (Of course, after years of this, the awesome part has become more-or-less real.)
In his relaunched segment "Better Know a District", the Congressional District he's decided to highlight this time is always described with great fanfare, and with terms like "The Fighting Twenty-Seventh!"
No minor political squabble is too small to justify bringing out fancy graphics with gigantic explosions or the like.
Mushroom Samba: Colbert has taken blotter acid on the show a couple of times (both as a joke). The first time, he licked an entire sheet of 10x10 blotter acid and sat in his set's "fireplace" (which was really just a flat-screen displaying a burning fireplace; Colbert thought it was real). The other time it was part of a "Cheating Death" segment in which Prescott Pharmaceuticals issued what was essentially blotter acid. And before he did it, he said, "Let's take a magic carpet ride!" Both times, his smiling face appeared on the front.
N-Word Privileges: In October 2012 when he had to say the name of Rick Perry's camp "N***erhead", he had to play charades with the audience and does a "sounds like" gesture followed by pointing to a picture of Tigger. They eventually got to play a clip of Herman Cain saying the word whenever it had to be said.
Nice Guy: Real-life Stephen. A suspiciously high proportion of interviews with him include some variation on "nicest man in the world", and his main worry when the show was pitched was that he wouldn't be able to handle playing an asshole.
No, Except Yes: On a proposal in Alabama to use prisoners to replace migrant workers:
Colbert: This plan worked perfectly in Georgia ... other than the working part.
No Export for You: Several (but not all) countries outside the US can't watch the videos on the site. Many fans aren't happy.
Noisy Nature: That eagle cry in the opening credits does not sound like an eagle.
Not That Kind of Doctor: Stephen has a honorary doctorate in fine arts. This doesn't stop him from presenting "Cheating Death", his segment on illness, health, and pharmaceuticals, with the name "Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA".
N-Word Privileges: Since Colbert doesn't see race, not having this is one of the ways he knows he's white.
One of Us: Even before his and Jon's Star Trek trivia war at the Reality to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, Jon played a clip of Stephen reciting Aragorn's entire geneaology.
Asked James Franco, in a Tolkien fan Nerd-Off, why Galadriel came to Middle-Earth. And Colbert corrected Franco with stats straight out of The Silmarillion.Badass in the annals of nerddom.
OOC Is Serious Business: If Colbert ever drops out of character, even if only for a moment, and starts speaking as himself, you know what's being discussed is serious.
Also had one when Jimmy Fallon got his revenge on Stephen. Initially, Stephen claimed that Jimmy would match the $26,000 auction price for Stephen's portrait (which went to charity clearinghouse Donors Choose), and donate said $26,000 to Donors Choose. Jimmy replied that he had never said such a thing. Rather than turn it into another mock feud, Jimmy instead challenged viewers of both shows to donate $26,000 within a week to Donors Choose. If so, then Jimmy claimed Stephen would come on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and sing Rebecca Black's "Friday" with The Roots. Stephen's response: WTF?!...and he later did go on Fallon's show and and sing the song.
His 2008 presidential run was "sponsored by Doritos", his quest for a spot on the US Olympic team was sponsored by Dr. Pepper, Verizon, and (I think) Miller Lite, and of course he and the Colbert Nation sponsored the US Olympic speed skating team, with the logo prominently displayed on the skaters heads and thighs. During the Olympics, several family members of the speed skaters were wearing Colbert Nation hats.
In 2012, Stephen mocked sponsor Wheat Thins by reading quotes from the hilariously specific memo they had provided him to promote the product. It included such detailed instructions as "[Stephen] shall not be shown eating more than 16." He jams 16 in his mouth, when when he goes to add the 17th, the show suddenly has "technical difficulties." When he returns, a lawyer is on set and Stephen is mock-apologizing to Nabisco.
May 20, 2013, has the Obama Scandal Booth, brought to you by Mazda. Colbert then uses several mock-taglines, such as "It's what's for dinner."
Rapid-Fire Typing: Any time he types anything, on anything. Typewriters, computers, phones, 10 keys, everything! Including smacking the keys with the back of his hand.
Real Joke Name: The crawl on the bottom of the screen showing donors to Colbert's Super PAC included a "Suq Madiq", who apparently has a father named Liqa Madiq and a mother named Munchma Quchi. Colbert proceeded to break character and laugh uncontrollably. He referred to them again in the April 4, 2012 episode, thanking Suq Madiq along with Harry Balsac and Apoop Mapanz. Munchma Quchi was mentioned yet again in the July 15, 2013 episode, where she apparently works for KTVU as the one who penned the script for the news regarding the (fake) pilots in the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 disaster (Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk, and Bang Ding Ow).
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cross-series, Colbert is the red to Jon Stewart's blue. This heavily influences their shows and how they handle the same stories, Stewart acts like he's Surrounded by Idiots, said idiots being inept and corrupt journalists and politicians, while Colbert is a Hot-Blooded idiot who snarkily agrees with the people Stewart is criticizing. Carries over to their crossovers together as well.
"Beating me in a dance-off on the technicality that he's a much better dancer than I am!"
Self-Made Man: Deconstructed. To prove that he is a self-made man, Stephen fired all of his staff, and shut own all of his equipment, except a desk lamp and his iPhone, which was now his camera, creating a major case of Stylistic Suck. At the end of the segment, he needs someone else's help to save him from choking on a dry-erase marker cap.
Serious Business: The idea of schools banning tater tots turns into a massive rant spurred by Stephen's childhood memories about getting heinously bullied, then drowning his sorrows with a plate of tots, then finally snapping and getting his revenge on said bully by slamming his head over and over into a locker, then breaking down and sobbing over while munching on tater tots at his desk.
The rivalry between Jimmy Fallon over their Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor popularities, Colbert's "Americone Dream" and Fallon's "Late Night Snack". Apparently, potato chips in your ice cream is taboo.
When sugar becomes scarce, Stephen breaks out a reserve supply and pours a whole bag down his mouth.
Share the Male Pain: After Rick Santorum compares contraception laws to the French Revolution, Colbert pulls out a banana, puts a condom on the banana, then pulls out a guillotine and guillotines the banana. The entire audience screams.
Another one appears in a segment about global warming where Stephen waves his arms around to mock a Republican who uses his arms to demonstrate his belief that the global climate regularly goes up and down. At 4:43 (after he appears to have finished), he finishes the "wavy arm thing" with a very quick Wave salute, which also doubles as a Take That to the Republican party in general, given the nature of the Wave.
Sophisticated as Hell: The December 13, 2012 episode featured Breaking Abbey, the plot of Breaking Bad with the setting and cast of Downton Abbey, complete with some of the latter series' cast members reprising their roles. This gives us gems such as:
Thomas: Apparently, they think its the "Shizzle-nizzle".
Lord Grathan: Soon Downton will be kicking it with mad bitches and benjamins.
Spit Take: Lampshaded, predicted, deliberately engineered (twice in a row!) yet still hilarious.
Start My Own: As a Take That to losing Time Magazine No. 1 Most Influential Person of 2007 to Rain, Colbert made a music video parodying "How To Avoid The Sun", where he not only danced but also sang in Korean.
Then after watching Speed Racer and realising that Rain had a leading role, Colbert wrote his own screenplay for a sequel which apparently consists of Rain getting run over by a car for two hours.
Stealth Parody: Believed by some to be a parody of the left-wing lens. If so, it's a rather brilliant one, as many reading this very opinion take it to mean he's thought to be sincere.
Stealth Pun: Stephen's attorney Gorlock is a legal alien.
During a segment titled "Fear for All", Stephen talks to Aaron Hicklin, editor-in-chief of 'Out' magazine:
Stephen: Like being gay, being British is a choice.
Hicklin: It's a fallacy that gay is a choice-
Stephen: This is a family show, I'd rather you not use the word 'fallacy'.
Stock Footage: There is a short clip of a roaring bear that is shown pretty much every time Stephen mentions bears, especially during the Threatdown segements.
A clip of Michael Stipe sitting on Stephen's shelf shouting "HEY-OH!" gets used to keep up the Running Gag he now lives there.
Strawman Political: The character of Stephen Colbert is an extreme exaggeration of a conservative talking-head in the name of comedy.
Strawman Has a Point: Often done intentionally. And quite often (accidentally) by Colbert himself. Because Colbert is a professional comedian with his own talkshow, and quite a few of the guests he brings on are authors, or otherwise un-charismatic and poorly trained to defend their point from critics, Colbert comes out on top of quite a few arguments with people who are supposed to strike back at him but don't know how. Colbert noted in an interview that this was a problem in the early days of the show, no one in Washington would come on his show because people are naturally reluctant to be interviewed by someone who they know is willfully going to be ignorant and twist what they say.
Stunned Silence: Stephen's response when he learns that among the victims of "News of the World" hacking scandal were the voicemails of victims of 9/11, families of British soldiers killed in the war in Afghanistan and the voicemail of a missing 13 year old girl. "News of the World" even took the liberty of deleting some of the girl's messages when her voicemail started to fill up leading to her family being given false hope that she might still be alive.
Stylistic Suck: During the July 25, 2012 episode, Stephen fired his entire staff to prove that he doesn't need help to be successful. The Word segment for that episode is filmed with a hand-camera and Stephen uses a whiteboard to show the bullet points.
The French-Canadian and lethally foul-mouthed Stephan Colbert.
Temporal Paradox: When Stephen wanted to lure hisfuture self into the present to talk with him, he threatened to stick a fork into a toaster unless his future self came back to stop him. His future self did come back, but present Stephen went through with sticking the fork into the toaster anyway, thus killing him. When future Stephen saw that 2009 Stephen was dead, he decided to take 2009 Stephen's place so that he could still exist 500 years from now to continue hosting his show. Makes sense, doesn't it?
This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: When, in a parody of Breaking Bad, Stephen has Vince Gilligan imprisoned in a closet, forcing him to write more episodes, he plays this trope straight in a similar manner to Breaking Bad character Jesse Pinkman.
The "Cantons Controversy," anyone? Stephen turned this into an entire series—and even a song!—of Trash Talk. By way of background, Stephen initially praised Canton, Ohio, after John McCain made a campaign stop there, while at the same time taking a jab at Canton, Georgia. The next week, he made a fake apology and directed his Trash Talk to another Canton. By the time the segments had run their course, Stephen had insulted five towns or cities named Canton in five separate states, including Where It All Began—Canton, Ohio, after Barack Obama also campaigned there.
Colbert's test for determining if one of his male employees is gay is showing him a picture of a shirtless Matthew McConaughey and asking if they find it sexy. If they answer no Colbert says they are gay and in denial because a straight man would acknowledge how sexy he is.
Tsundere: "Charlene II (I'm Over You)" is absolutely dripping with how Stephen is totally, completely over Charlene... not that he's 100% against the concept of a relationship with her. You know, hypothetically.
Two Decades Behind: In the April 26, 2012 episode, Stephen talks about how he can relate to youth much better than Obama. He says things like "Turn off your Atari, Obama, because the game is over" and "They know I'm young because I always carry around a full deck of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and I love the Power Rangers."
Stephen: Donald Trump is a friend. He's my best friend. Number 1, best, greatest friend of all time. We race yachts, we trade mistresses. I call him "Trump Card," he calls me "Col-beer." That said, the guy's a boob. He looks like a tangelo had sex with an old dishrag. And I can say that because I love this man.
Visual Pun: The occasional segment "Monkey On The Lam" opens with a graphic of a monkey riding a sheep while shooting a gun in the air.
Stephen: Steve, I am thrilled for your success. Hell, I'm amazed by it. Nobody who knows you saw this coming, and it is a joy to see you in person. When I just see you in your movies I forget how funny and attractive you are. Frankly, I'm excited.
Steve: Of course you are excited, Stephen. I'm not your normal guest, people have heard of me. Stephen, I am an international movie star.
Stephen: Yes, Steve. I suppose Canada counts as international. And yes, most of my guests are people who contribute to society. So bantering with an old friend about mindless Tinseltown pablum is a welcome vacation from substance.
Steve: Thanks, Stephen. Is a vacation for me too. I am used to having 8 million people watch me on TV. Doing the Report is like being in the Witness Relocation Program.
We Named the Monkey Jack: The stuffed moose seen in the Vancouver shows was named "Ebersol"; when he went over to NBC Late-Night he was renamed "Colbert", and now that he's going on exhibit at NBC he'll get another name because Comedy Central and NBC are rival companies.
What Have I Done: Colbert about a "fake" gay relationship entered solely in order to turn a man off the idea of gay marriage forever.
Worthy Opponent: Usually, the line "You sir, are a formidable opponent" is said by Colbert to Colbert in the eponymous segment. But George Will earned the right to be called that by Stephen.
The genuine Colbert also admitted in interviews to gaining a lot of respect for K-Pop artist Rain after the dance-off, saying that he knew he was "in the presence of a master".
Worst News Judgment Ever: The show did a segment covering how a man in Athens, GA saying it was "too hot to fish" became a story in that town's newspaper, and somehow became a story in The New York Times.
"YEAH!" Shot: Parodied at the end of the "I Tried to Sign Up for Obamacare" segment. Colbert celebrates not getting insurance by happily leaping into the air, and the scene freezes... and then the scene plays again and he falls painfully to the ground.
Yes But What Does Zataproximetacine DO: Parodied in the "Cheating Death" segments (which open with a Chess with Death sequence where Stephen distracts Death and moves the pieces), where Colbert advertises sponsor Prescott Pharmaceutical's cure-all drug whose name is usually a variant on "Vaxadrine." Side effects include "minor heart explosions", "speaking in tongues", "braintooth", "tracheal meerkat colonies", "carcassing", "ADHDEAD", "Mind of Mencia", and "involuntary Narnia adventures". Also growth of teeth.note Often in your mouth!
You Can Panic Now: If there's fear to be mongered, Stephen's the one to do it. It's pretty much the point of Threat Down. Kinda Deconstructed at one point, where a failed terrorist attempt caused most of the media to call the bomb pathetic. Colbert then reminds everyone that they ARE scared out of their gourds "so the terrorist has succeeded and therefore doesn't have to prove his point by trying another attack".