"You are the best! Keep fighting and trying! To pass the test! So try to keep fighting! Fight your best fight, and try to fight best! Try your best, try to fight through the test!"
I'm right behind you now, Charlene...
His duet with Julie Andrews on "Accentuate the Positive".
His duet with Dolly Parton on "Love is Like a Butterfly", which is also Sweet Dreams Fuel of the first order.
The performance of "We'll Meet Again" in the final episode.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: On April 27th, 2010, Colbert executed the "Greatest Pun of All Time" (3:30) after talking about sheep on meth getting tasered who could have their own TV show called"Breaking Baaaaa". This led to a balloon drop, giant muscular men carrying him over to an Egyptian-esque tent, fighting a man with a giant bull for a head to the death, and ended with him lying in the company of beautiful women who fed him grapes and fanned him.
Stephen opened his 10/24/12 episode with jokes about people stocking up canned meat and boarding up their windows in anticipation of Donald Trump's "big revelation" about Obama. After the episode was filmed, storm-trackers confirmed that Hurricane Sandy would make landfall and merge with other weather patterns, forcing most of the Eastern U.S. to batten down the hatches and really stock up on non-perishables.
In this segment, Stephen and Billy Crystal had this exchange about Pete Seeger and his nomination in the 2014 Grammy Awards in the same category for which they were nominated. Seeger died on January 27, 2014, one day after the Grammy Awards.
Colbert: But what I really meant was that I just hope that Pete Seeger doesn't win.
Billy Crystal: What an asshole.
Colbert: Yeah, he is. And besides, he already won the Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1993.
Billy Crystal: Yes, and he keeps on living! It's so selfish!
Many of Stephen's gags from 2009, the first year of Barack Obama's administration, about how Republicans can refuse to work with Obama are a lot less amusing nowadays, since his presidency has been fraught with severe tension between himself and Republicans.
On the 21 April 2014, following the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a sharp-eyed fan noticed the words "HAIL HYDRA" in the opening credits, the joke being that the film's plot revolves around HYDRA's infiltration of the US government and that Colbert, a Marvel fan, was bequeathed the "deceased" Captain's shield. In May 2016, issue #1 of Captain America: Steve Rogers Cap reveals his secret allegiance to HYDRA.
Genius Bonus: The fireplace in the "interview room" is inscribed with the latin phrase "VIDERI QUAM ESSE". This means "To seem rather than to be". This is both a Take That! against politicians and the media (and if you're cynical enough, any successful person in society) for pretending to be whatever will garner public support; and also, as a reversal of the state motto of North Carolina, is rallying support from his home state (South Carolina) by mocking the motto of the Carolina he's not from. Alternatively, it's a reference to the fact that his fireplace holds a television screen displaying a video of a fire, instead of an actual one.
The show was conceived as a parody of The O'Reilly Factor, which made it ironic when O'Reilly introduced a new segment in 2007 called Pinheads and Patriots (which also became the title of one of his books). The segment consists of O'Reilly expressing his approval/disapproval of various people/things, much like the Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger segment Colbert has been doing since his show debuted in 2005.
The night of the show's first ever episode (October 17, 2005), The Daily Show with Jon Stewart did a pre-show toss in which Jon Stewart asked Stephen if he was ready. Stephen answered, "Very ready. Feel like I've been doing this show for years. Six years, in fact. I feel like the first two years were pretty good, started out strong. Then I hit a bit of a lull, had some substance abuse issues, came back, and for the last four years - strong as an ox." After about two years (in August 2007, to be exact) Stephen hurt his wrist and (in character) got addicted to painkillers. As of October 17, 2011, the show has been on for six years.
In 2008, Colbert interviewed Mark Sanford, then-Governor of South Carolina, and declared him the most boring governor in America. The next year, Sanford went "hiking the Appalachian Trail" on National Nude Hiking Day.note Actually, he went down to Argentina to meet his mistress.
Supporters of the #CancelColbert movement got their wish a few weeks later when it was announced that The Colbert Report would wrap up at the end of the year... because Stephen Colbert would be replacing David Letterman as host of The Late Show, having effectively been promoted to a position where he could potentially reach an even bigger audience. The ironywas not loston many.
In 2011 he and Jimmy Fallon did a bit where they traded Volleying Insults over each other's Ben & Jerry's Flavors, in which Colbert told Fallon, "Your ice cream is actually pretty good..., for 12:30. It's just not ready for the 11:30 timeslot yet," to which Fallon answered, "Thanks, Steve. And your ice cream is OK too...as a palate cleanser for Tosh.0." In 2014 Fallon took over The Tonight Show, and in 2015 Colbert took over The Late Show, meaning they both now have 11:30 network talk shows.
On March 6, 2014, Stephen did a segment about the centennial anniversary of the song "Happy Birthday to You.", however, he was unable to sing the actual song due to copyrighting. On September 22, 2015, the copyright expired and the song is now in the public domain, thus allowing the song to be sung, which Stephen, now hosting The Late Show has done since then.
Upon NOT having his show called out for intolerance by GLAAD's television report, he concluded that one of his staff members had to be gay... and by process of elimination he determined that it was apparently himself. Surprisingly, he didn't put up much of a fight to this revelation...
The March Fourth, 2011 episode had an appearance by Jimmy Fallon as a promotion for his and Stephen's flavours of ice cream, Late Night Snack and Americone Dream. After they sang a song about friendship based on ice cream metaphors, it got...unsubtle. Not That There's Anything Wrong with That. They also were both pretty torn up about their 6-month best friendship ending... enough to break out into a duet.
LGBT Fanbase: So much so that he once recieved Gay.com's "Man of the Year" award.
Magnificent Bastard: Stephen is this comedy-wise (one-liners, quick comebacks), leading to some... interesting Wild Mass Guessing, not to mention being incredible at setting people and events up for ridicule and his ability to perform adequately with occasionally less than 24 hours of preparation.
There are many neocons or extreme liberals who take everything Colbert says in-character at face value. And even after they're told that he's just Alter-Ego Acting, they refuse to believe it or consider it an attempt at a Parody Retcon.
Squick: Bringing up the controversy of Summer's Eve feminine wash commercials: "What you are about to see...you cannot un-see." A callback was done in August 2011 when Jeff Bridges did a fake commercial for the product.
When Colbert realizes Jesus was a Liberal Democrat (fittingly on an episode before his Christmas Break)
Colbert: If we are going to be a Christian nation, that doesn't help the poor, we have two choices. We can either pretend Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we can admit that Jesus told us to serve the poor, without condition, and then admit, that we just don't wanna do it.
He also makes incredibly heavy-handed arguments against Objectivism and the idea that you can owe nobody anything, but it's generally all in the theme of unity and helping each other.
Sweet Dreams Fuel: Stephen Colbert, Dolly Parton, and "Love is Like a Butterfly". Good luck to any nightmares trying to get past that memory.
Love is like a butterfly, as soft and gentle as a sigh...
Tough Act to Follow: The Colbert Report became such a major pop culture phenomenon people are worried about whether The Nightly Show can match up to it. Some have expressed similar worries about The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Fortunately, the first two weeks thereof appear to have put those questions to bed, albeit not with a shovel quite yet.
True Art: When Steve Martin, an art collector himself, visited to promote his newest novel about the art world, Colbert devoted the whole episode to art. Later, Colbert wanted Steve to buy the recursive portrait that hangs over the fake fireplace and enlisted the help of Frank Stella, who declared the picture "Art", Shepard "Obey Giant" Fairey who embellished the painting with stencils, and Andres "Piss Christ" Serrano who further enhanced it (with a marker, get your minds out of the gutter). Steve eventually bought the arted-up "painting" for $20, and Colbert put a hi-res original online so other artists can enhance it; the first person to do so was William Wegman, who (naturally) added one of his dogs.