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Series / The Colbert Report

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"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 an Emmy award-winningnote  American satirical late-night news talk show produced as a Spin-Off from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, featuring the screen persona of news anchor Stephen Colbert. The show operated as a parody of news talk programs such as The O'Reilly Factor (such that the show was pitched as "Stephen Colbert parodying Bill O'Reilly", leading to it being picked up immediately without a pilot), and aired on Comedy Central immediately after its sister program.

The character of Colbert himself can be best described as a loudmouth cable news pundit who embodies every left-wing stereotype about Bush-era conservatives in one convenient shell; indeed, most of Colbert's political jokes were little more than strawman arguments of the opposition. It should probably be noted (or perhaps not) that Stephen Colbert, the fake news anchor, was in fact a character that Stephen Colbert, professional comedian, played. He did not believe the views he espoused on the show (for the most part), and has referred to the character as "a well-meaning, poorly informed, high-status idiot."

Much like its progenitor, The Colbert Report read the real news in a humorous tone, but where it was unique was that it functioned as 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 revolved around a character and his interaction with the real world. There were recurring characters and plot points (such as Colbert's broken wrist), and indeed, during the show's first year of existence, Colbert even had a Sitcom Arch-Nemesis 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.

The show also coined the words "truthiness"note  and "wikiality". The latter one is a portmanteau of "Wikipedia" and "reality", and is basically the practice of Rewriting Reality by bringing democracy to information on the basis that "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.

The Colbert Report ended on December 18, 2014, with Stephen succeeding David Letterman as host of The Late Show with The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which premiered in September 2015. Fellow Daily Show alum Larry Wilmore took the Colbert Report's spot with his own spinoff The Nightly Show, which lasted from January 2015 to August 2016. In September 2017, the show received a Spiritual Successor in the form of The Opposition with Jordan Klepper, another show hosted by a former Daily Show correspondent who takes on a faux-conservative persona and lasted from 2017 to 2018. note 

This show contained examples of:

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  • Affectionate Parody: Of political news commentators, mostly Fox News.
  • Air Guitar: At the beginning of every 'Sport Report' segment Stephen rocks out on the air guitar. At one point he points out that he can play air guitar even with a broken wrist.
  • All Just a Dream: The entire series is revealed to be a Daily Show segment, as Stephen passes things to Jon on TDS after signing off for the final time, prompting Jon to play the Moment of Zen.
  • Alter-Ego Acting: Colbert in character and Colbert out of character are two very different people.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The CGI eagle from the opening credits got a red-white-and-blue makeover in later seasons.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Colbert mentions being in a loving and strictly heterosexual marriage with a woman named Lorraine. Nevertheless he makes several comments suggesting all is not as it seems.
    • 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...
    • And then in a later episode that week, he delved into a quite detailed fantasy about how to eliminate gay marriage- encouraging his straight male viewers to go to gay bars and become friends with gay men, living in a cottage in California and opening up a dog grooming parlor, and ending up with him getting engaged to an apparently Jewish man named Jonathan, before then leaving him at the altar with the words "NO WAY, I'M NOT GAY!" He then proceeded to cry about it.
    • Not to mention the muscular shirtless cameraman hired from He didn't say you could stop dancing!
  • Analogy Backfire:
  • 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 voiceover 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.
  • Anatomically Impossible Sex: Stephen gives advice on how to make babies and he gets quite a few things wrong.
  • Animal Nemesis: Colbert loathes bears.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Stephen is defeated in a health care reform debate by a table and a desklamp. He is the only one who can hear them though.
  • Arch-Enemy: It changes from time to time:
    • 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.
    • Korean pop star Rain, who became Stephen's arch-nemesis due to taking cruel pleasure in beating him at things.
    • Kanye West has held this title.
    • 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.
    • Previously and briefly held by Helen Thomas.
    • Eleanor Holmes Norton.
    • Stephen Hawking is such an A-hole.
    • James Franco is now his renaissance enemy. Or renemy.
    • MANILOW!
    • BEARS!
    • STEWART!
    • FALLON!
    • At one point, Stephen had a "war" with, of all things, Miracle Whip. It looks like it began on October 15, 2009, when Stephen "attacked" the Miracle Whip commercials. In response, Miracle Whip bought ad space on every commercial break during his November 12 show and well... Hilarity Ensued. Now here's some cool people dancing. And then there's Stephen's response, which points out how Miracle Whip buying ad space on his show would give him money that he could use to buy more delicious mayo.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Stephen confirms that he works out to "prevent gay strokes."
    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.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • "I am ... [an] Emmy winner, Grammy winner, Peabody winner, and Free Pepsi winner."
    • "Folks, there is a lot of depressing news out there. Chemical weapons in Syria, radiation in Fukushima, Breaking Bad is ending."
    • Colbert leads into his I Need a Drink segment by listing all the tough times humans have gone through — battles in Gaza, Russia shelling Ukraine, Taliban advances in Afghanistan, and no more Weird Al videos.
  • Artistic License – Military: Seriously, that drill Sergeant couldn't wait to get rid of him.
  • 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.
  • As the Good Book Says...: "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth..." Stephen Colbert really is a devout Catholic (he even teaches Sunday School, presumably why he can recite the Nicene Creed from memory).
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: A Styrofoam cup which Stephen had irradiated for several days in a microwave (to demonstrate the Libertarian opposition to safety regulations) apparently grew to human-like size, developed limbs, and came back to attack him.On the show's website, the clip is marked Revenge of the Styrofoam Cups.
  • 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.
  • Back for the Finale: Jon Stewart and nearly a couple of hundred guests who had appeared the Report show up for the curtain call (including Smaug, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster), along with every member of the show staff.
  • Background Halo: done deliberately; when the camera is facing Colbert's desk straight-on, stars circle his head.
  • The Backwards Я: "Cold War Update", done in faux Cyrillic.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment
    Colbert: [on Ninja Assassin] Yeah, impressive, but you know who you didn't see in that video? Me! [Beat] Who's the better ninja now?
    Colbert: I am on the South Carolina Republican primary like white... on the Republican primary.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison
    Colbert: We have a broadcast legend... who will be interviewing Tom Brokaw.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Almost always making number one on his "Threat Down".
  • Berserk Button: During an interview with Nell 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.
    • Also, when sugar runs low, he panics and tears into a whole bag.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Not physically big, but his eyebrows are often Large Hams in their own right.
  • Bizarro Universe:
  • Black Comedy: on his 6/27/2013 show, in response to Mayor Bloomberg 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 the 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."
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Stephen lives this trope, but it is especially highlighted in the Stephen's Sound Advice segments.
  • Book Ends: The first and last segments of "Better Know a District" were with Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia, who was in his last term by 2014.
    • The first and final shows began with Stephen leaping over the word "Grippest" with his flag. The first and last shows also featured The Word.
    • The Colbert Report began as a spin-off of The Daily Show. In the end, it spun back into its parent series when Stephen said his last line and cut back to Jon on his set.
  • Boring Broadcaster: Colbert makes fun of C-SPAN as being hosted by these.
  • Brass Balls: Stephen Colbert talks about his brass balls quite often. They're the only thing that gives him the guts to speak the truth.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • The theme song of Tek Jansen Alpha Squad 7 describes its protagonist as doing the following:
      Killing the aliens
      Loving the aliens
      Sometimes loving then killing the aliens
    • On one edition of Threat Down, every entry is either robots or bears. The list concludes that the number-one threat is robot bears.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall
    • 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.
  • Broken Pedestal: In the episode that aired shortly after Owen Bundy and several other dozen heavily armed ranchers forced federal law enforcement agents to back down from apprehending Bundy for refusing to pay over $1 million in livestock grazing fees he accrued over the years, Colbert began singing "The Ballad of Owen Bundy" in commemoration of his victory. When Bundy told a news crew: "let me tell you something else I know about the Negro," Colbert stopped singing, and allowed Bundy to explain himself. Bundy went on to say that because of the current high rates of incarceration, substance abuse, unemployment, and single mother households, African Americans have no idea as to how to live in freedom and would be better off as slaves, specially since parents in enslaved families got to raise their children together and never separated.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In the most literal way possible. In his interview with Smaug, Stephen decided to taunt him a bit about Bilbo getting the better of him. Smaug replied by setting the studio on fire.
    Smaug: Never laugh at a live dragon, motherf**ker!
  • But Now I Must Go: Stephen's justification for why the show ended.
  • Butt-Monkey:
  • By "No", I Mean "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.
  • Call-Back:
    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.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Aimed at idol "Papa Bear" Bill O'Reilly. Played for Laughs.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: In this hilarious Cheating Death segment.
  • Canis Latinicus: The motto for his Iraq shows? "Veritasiness."
  • Cargo Ship: In-universe, Colbert is very attached to his gun, Sweetness, caressing it, whispering to it and kissing it whenever he brings it out.
  • Catchphrase:
    • George Bush: great president or greatest president?
    • X or Y? Pick a side, we're at war.
    • Tons of variations on this:
      ...that's a fact, and nothing can convince me otherwise. [a beat] Here to convince me otherwise...
    • "Checkmate!" or "I just nailed you." when interviewing people he disagrees with. Sometimes when the audience is clapping for the guest he'll say "I haven't nailed him yet but thanks."
    • "[X], please!"
    • Whenever a guest agrees with him (usually on a very minor point) "Apology accepted"
    • At the beginning of shows: "Nation, in here, out there..."
    • "This is America."
    • "I don't see race, people tell me I'm white and I believe them because I <stereotypical white trait/hobby>"
    • "Nation, anyone who watches this show regularly knows that I love/hate <topic/person he's never mentioned before>"
    • "Tonight on 'Better Know a District,' [name of state]'s nth,' THE FIGHTIN' nTH!"
    • "Once again, my apologies to Doris Kearns Goodwin."
    • Anything on the internet: "Ron Paul 2012!"
    • "If you watch this show, and I hope you do..."
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: Stephen doesn't think so. "You people are like water in the desert."
  • Character Blog: The @stephenathome Twitter.
  • Chess with Death: The "Cheating Death" segments begin with a brief black and white clip (a la The Seventh Seal) of Stephen cheating Death in some game. Usually, they're playing chess and Stephen uses Look, a Distraction! to switch pieces around, but every so often he's running a three-card monte game instead. In the series finale, Stephen tries to do a "Cheating Death" segment, only for Grimmy to try to kill him during the opening clip.
  • Chekhov's Gun: An unintentional one in this episode when Stephen forgot about the mousetrap that he had placed on his desk earlier in the show.
  • China Takes Over the World: Alluded to in this clip.
  • Christmas Special: "A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All"
  • Clip Show: The Global Editions, though a couple include original sketches.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: His unique interpretation of current events.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: French-Canadian Stephane Colbert.
  • Chroma Key:
    • Formidable Opponent, in which Stephen debates himself, and the Green Screen Challenges.
    • The green-screen "window" during the Vancouver segments, which started out with a normal view of the city, went up into a blimp, then went into NBC's studios (Brian Williams: Will you go away?!).
    • Also when interviewing a Wisconsin Senator in Chicago 20 Million BC.
  • Church of Happyology: Colbert declared himself the New Galactic Overlord. He wears a shiny cape.
  • Clip Show: The Global Edition.
  • Cold War: The Cold War Update Segments.
  • Comically Missing the Point: His whole talk show revolves around this.
  • The Comically Serious: "German Ambassador" Hans Beinholtz.
  • Companion Cube: Sweetness, a gun which Colbert treats like a cross between Mr. Flibble and Sooty.
    • 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.
    • A segment that debuted late in the run focused on Stephen's theories was titled Stephen Colbert's Bat***t Crazy.
  • Cooking Duel: Stephen's epic dance duel with Rain, which is apparently the only universally accepted way to challenge someone and how all conflicts are solved.
  • Cool Gun: Stephen's .38 caliber revolver "Sweetness", a "trigger-happy" and very talkative (at least, to Stephen) firearm with whom Stephen has shot the same audience member every time, same bullet wounds and all. Even he wonders why he keeps sitting there.
    • In the finale, after shooting the Grim Reaper in the opening of the final segment of "Cheating Death", Stephen tosses Sweetness to the same audience member, who then shoots himself in the knee.
  • Cool Sword: Andúril. Stephen regularly shows it off just to remind people he still has it.
  • Couch Gag:
    • The introductory text that appears next to Stephen also changes on occasion. This has ranged from words such as "Megamerican" to "Lincolnish", "Libertease", and "SCILF." Even "Hail Hydra" once.
    • Before the Vancouver shows "Sponsored by Verizon. They paid for this."
    • After Hurricane Sandy hit the Tri-State area, the phrase "Text 'Red Cross' to 90999."
  • 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!"
  • Crowd Song: Stephen, all his writers, and almost every guest he had over the course of nine years all sing Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again" in the last episode of the show.
  • 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 once brought an actual kitten onto the show to help accentuate a joke that involved killing it- but, thankfully, it was Played for Laughs.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Stephen normally hates and fears bears The Godless Killing Machines, but pictures of cute little bear cubs invariably send him into hopeless Baby Talk. An attempt to de-cuteinize one cub failed when putting the cub's face on bin Laden's body just made terrorism adorable.
    • 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?"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Stephen is frequently snarky, but rarely deadpan. The captions during The Word segments, however, frequently take dry sarcasm up to eleven.
  • Death by Gluttony: The Mandel-BLT, where the bacon approaches infinite density as you zoom in. What will explode first? Your heart, or your mind?
  • Death Takes a Holiday: Colbert kills the Reaper on his last episode.
  • Deface of the Moon: All part of a new way to report on the news.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow"
    • In 2008, the election special was named "The Final Endgame Go Time Alpha Action Lift-Off Decide-icidal Hungry Man's Extreme Raw Power Ultimate Voteslam Smackdown '08 No Mercy: Judgement Day '08"
    • In 2014, the election special was named "Midterms '014 - Detour to Gridlock, An Exciting Thing That I Am Totally Interested In— Wait! Don't Change The Channel! Here Is An Exciting Picture Of A Duckling Following A Cat Dressed As A Shark While Riding A Roomba '014"
  • Détournement: Carrying neo-conservative punditry a few bridges too far.
  • Double Vision: Formidable Opponent. Bonus points that they're usually Color-Coded for Your Convenience- one wears a red tie (Conservative bias) and the other wears a blue tie (Liberal bias).
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Encounters a real one for his bit of basic training prior to "Operation Iraqi Stephen".
  • Drinking Game:
    • 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.
    • In the final episode, the final portrait was shown with Colbert removed from every level of it, leaving only empty frames.
  • Dynamic Entry: Smaug the Golden enters the studio for an interview by smashing his head through the wall.

  • 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.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The final shows. Stephen makes peace with bears, sells his studio equipment to the general public (donating the proceeds to charity), and kills Grimmy, thus granting him immortality. He then leaves with Santa Claus, Abraham Lincoln, and Alex Trebek to find a new role in life, ending the show thanking all his crew, audience, and friends for their help before passing things back to Jon.
  • Edit War: Colbert has publicly incited a few of these over at The Other Wiki.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: mocked, claiming to have had a band in the eighties called "Stephen and the Colberts."
  • "El Niño" Is Spanish for "The Niño": "Grow a pair of whatever the Mexican word is for cojones."
    • Another frequent one is "Mano a whatever-the-Spanish-word-for-mano-is"
  • 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.
  • Erotic Eating: The coffee. And The pizza.
  • 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!)"
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Stephen tries unsuccessfully to play the bagpipes to show solidarity for Scotland in his segment on the Scottish independence referendum.
  • Evil, Inc./Mega-Corp: Stephen often shills for The Prescott Group, a shady conglomerate with divisions such as Prescott Pharmaceuticals, Prescott Oil and Prescott Finance.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Doesn't happen, but the final "The Word" segment includes the phrase as one of its little snippets.
  • 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 prescribed jabbing a pencil in their eye, up to their brain cavity and poking at their brain until thoughts of mentioning rape go away.
  • Facepalm:
  • The Fair Folk: Colbert suspects presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich of being an elf with Hammerspace pockets.
  • Fake Band: Stephen and the Colberts. Then got Defictionalized and now ''Charlene (I'm Right Behind You)'' is on Rock Band.
  • Fan Community Nicknames: invoked Has dubbed his viewers the Colbert Nation, and occasionally refers to them as heroes too. "And who are the Heroes? The people who watch this show."
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: It's harder to find a photo where he isn't doing this.
  • Feigning Intelligence / Obfuscating Stupidity: Coupled with I've Heard of That — What Is It? Stephen frequently uses a word correctly in a sentence, then admits he has no idea what it means. It is unclear whether the character is feigning stupidity or feigning intelligence.
    Stephen: We need a new leader soon because America is standing at a precipice. Which, I think, is either a bonfire or a poisonous Australian jellyfish.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The idea behind the Nailed'Em segments is that Stephen viciously attacks someone who has got in trouble for doing something completely innocent.
  • Le Film Artistique: His parody of The Artist, Transformateurs: Noir de la lune, including Gratuitous French and The End... Or Is It?.
  • Flowery Insults: Usually "[Job description], and [flowery insult], [Person's name]"
    • "Minority leader, and septuagenarian ninja turtle, Mitch McConnell"
    • "Texas GOP congressman, and human fence post, Louie Gohmert"
    • "Pundit, and part-time weather balloon, Rush Limbaugh"
    • "New CBS anchor, and Century 21 realtor, Scott Pelley"
    • "Florida congresswoman, and home-perm after model, Debbie Wasserman Schultz"
    • "MSNBC host, and talking block of smoked gouda, Ed Schultz."
    • "Iowa representative and man-trying-to-forget-what-he-buried-in-that-cornfield, Steve King"
    • "Pennsylvania House Majority Leader and keeper of America's strategic forehead reserve, Mike Turzai"
    • “People have said to me, ‘Stephen you gotta understand, you don’t even know your history. You’re dumb. You’re dense. You’re a mental midget with the IQ of a butter dish, whose mind is a black hole that sucks all surrounding thought into it in an infinite singularity of pure stupidity. Stephen, I’m surprised you can even dress yourself. I bet you have to rub peanut butter inside your lips to remember to open your mouth to breathe. I have never met, and I hope to never meet again, a man so pervasively astoundingly unyieldingly ignorant.’ To which I say, then you haven’t met Louis Gohmert.”
  • Flynning: Colbert and Elijah Wood, both of them using versions of Sting (Colbert brandishing one given to him by Peter Jackson).
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Lampshaded in this segment before a Richard Branson interview.
    • Colbert once said, "Eventually, this show will be canceled" in jest a few years before deciding to end it in 2014.
    • Toward the end of the show's run, Stephen kept invoking this trope by referencing foreshadowing while Grimmy the Grim Reaper made threatening motions towards him.
  • 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.
  • Freudian Slip: From the last episode in 2011:
    "It was just a simple Freudian slip. Named, of course, after Sigmund Freud. I'm sorry that's my mom. Jimmy, put up my mom. I mean, my breasts. I mean, Freud.
  • Friend of Masked Self: On the November 13, 2008, episode, Stephen Colbert tells the audience he has a "close personal relationship" with Superman, then implies that he is Superman.
    Stephen Colbert: ...though we've never been seen together. Hmmm... [curls hair over forehead, takes off glasses] ...I wonder why.
  • Frivolous Law Suit: Colbert being told by his lawyer brother the many words he can't say during the Vancouver Olympics shows (including "Vancouver" and "Olympics").
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • NASA's space treadmill "Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill" (C.O.L.B.E.R.T.) And now there's video of it being installed on the ISS.
    • Rushing to the defense of the persecuted rich, Colbert formed the Protecting Industry Titans and Yachtsmen Party.
    • On October 10, 2013 Colbert introduced his new news delivery method, the Big Unbelievably Large LED Super Hyper Information Technology.
  • Fun with Subtitles: Specifically, ABC's actual subtitles of Marco Rubio's rebuttal to President Obama's 2013 State of the Union. Word-Salad Humor ahoy!
  • Gainax Ending: Stephen kills Grimmy in self-defense, which somehow makes him immortal. He rides off into the sky on Santa's sleigh, along with Abraham Lincoln the unicorn and Alex Trebek.
  • The Generic Guy: In the aftermath of the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, Stephen has had trouble remembering the name of... gosh-darn-it, what's his name?note 
  • Germanic Depressive: Recurring character and German ambassador to the UN, Hans Beinholtz.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: "No! Get a grip Colbert!" and various alternate phrasings.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: One of Colbert's favorite poses.
    • Not to mention his Tip of the Hat / Wag of the Finger segment
  • Glamour Failure: The enemy within segments feature a family getting their picture taken, the picture that shows up has the family replaced with aliens.
  • A God Am I: Upon introducing Conservapedia's Conservative Bible Project to Colbert Nation, Colbert then commanded the masses to add him into it as a biblical figure — perhaps Moses, or Samson — or...
    "The point is, you don't have to make me God himself. But if that happens, hey — I get it."
  • Godwin's Law: The September 5, 2012 show opened with a group of democratic donkeys chanting Obama's name as images appear depicting Obama as Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro and Bane. The Democratic National Convention was referred to as "The People's Party Congress of Charlotte".
  • 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.
  • Gratuitous Latin: 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.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Tek Jansen's "hundreds of girlfriends".
  • Grand Finale: As expected, it was suitably impressive, with Colbert first shooting Grimmy during the last-ever 'Cheating Death with Stephen Colbert' segment, becoming immortal, then after a commercial break, he begins to sing Vera Lynn's WWII standard "We'll Meet Again". The camera then pans to both Jon Stewart and Randy Newman (on piano) joining him. Then, over 150 former guests begin to gradually come out on stage to join him, along with several pre-taped sequences including the show's crew, Tek Jansen, astronaut Scott Kelly on the ISS, troops in Afghanistan and others singing as well. Once the stage clears and the studio is empty, we find Colbert on the Colbert studio's roof, where he joins Abraham Lincoln, Santa Claus, and Alex Trebek in Santa's sleigh to live in eternity. Before he rides away, he breaks character briefly, to thank the guests & crew that have been on the show over the last nine years. He then throws the show back to Stewart, who wraps the show (inferring slyly it's been one big Daily Show segment) up as a 'great Report', before showing a Moment Of Zen of Stewart & Colbert breaking character during a show hand-off from 2010.
  • Gut Feeling: Colbert considers this the only valid way to make a decision.
  • Hammerspace: The unseen part of Stephen Colbert's desk is like a country unto itself. Comedy Central has kindly compiled the highlights, but This Very Wiki kept score too, and tallies up: a fax machine, a "stay the course" notebook, telephone, pitchfork (and presumably other Angry Mob accoutrements), the Apology Box, a Big Red Button, Rahm Emanuel's finger, Abraham Lincoln's skull, a Starbucks, a rival Starbucks (now defunct), a Foot Locker, the Atone Phone for apologetic Jews, a suitcase with John Oliver inside, a (probably endless) supply of Ben & Jerry's Americone Dream, a washing machine, and a secret prison for terrorists, now closed. April 8, 2009, saw that the desk also yielded three Jewish slaves (whom Stephen promptly freed), and he admitted it also has a few Asians and a pyramid (incomplete), August 2009 saw Stephen produce a desk lamp from under the desk — a desk lamp that is apparently very good at arguing about health care reform. Stephen also keeps an emergency supply of sugar, and of a four-ounce Mini Gulp (for when the Big Gulp is shrunk) in his desk. Other mysteries yielded by that treasure trove include a poll-sausage making machine and the Ham-Head of Karl Rove, and, of course, a Shofar. And probably the entire line of Prescott Pharmaceutical supplies — up to an including a freaking snake. 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 ... And last but not least, he keeps his lovingly-polished Emmys and his Peabody award under his desk, which he pulls out for his Heroic Gloating. 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.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Absolutely, he is!
  • Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: The Wørd.
  • Helpless with Laughter: In one episode Stephen discusses the latest donors providing hurricane relief to New York City in 2012, including one from Arab-American viewer Suq Madiq. He just manages to keep a straight face as he explains that Suq's father Liqa Madiq must be proud of him; however, when he brings up Suq's mother (who still goes by her maiden name) "Munchma Quchi", Stephen cracks up and goes on giggling for a solid thirty seconds.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Tek Jansen, a Captain Space, Defender of Earth!, who has "obviously had hundreds of girlfriends".
  • The Hero Dies: Throughout the final few episodes, Grimmy keeps strongly hinting to Stephen that this is going to happen at the end. However the final episode subverts it; Stephen actually kills Grimmy.
  • Heroic BSoD: Parodied with flying colors on the episode the night after the 2012 Election.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: When does Sir Dr. Stephen T Colbert DFA plan on retiring? Half an hour after Jon Stewart.note 
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Varies. Much more explicit in I Am America, including the margin note
  • Hitler Ate Sugar:
    • Charles Manson believes in global warming.
    • After Fox News accused the US Olympic team of being unpatriotic and "softly anti-American" by not being covered in stars and stripes from top to toe:
      Stephen: You know who else wore purple? Hitler. [Photoshop of Hitler in Gabby Douglas' leotard] You just can't tell because he's in black and white most of the time.
  • Homage: He carried and swung a golf club on stage in Iraq, explicitly stating it was in homage to Bob Hope.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Stephen of course has a Hollywood Atheist view on atheists.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: 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.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Albeit a very brief one, on May 4th, 2010's show. Michael J. Fox only wanted to sell his book....
    • Done on December 8th, 2014, by Barack Obama
  • Hurricane of Puns
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: As he says on his last show, all of his accomplishments are actually the Colbert Nation's. He's just the guy who gets paid for it.
  • Hypocritical Humor
    • 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.

  • I Call It "Vera": Sweetness.
  • I Die Free: After he concludes that the government has bought all the ammunition in America, Colbert declares that they will never get him alive and shoots himself in the head. Fortunately, the feds have already taken all his ammo.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Colbert asks John Yarmuth his opinion on "kittens in woodchippers" and Yarmuth promotes this as a method of disposing of excess kittens. Linked here for your perusal.
    • Made funnier by realizing that John Yarmuth was (at the time) showing a series of political ads in a similar vein (and explicitly parodying some very negative ads at the time from the Other Team).
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: We all knew Sweetness was going to go off eventually. He later repeats the incident, accidentally shooting an audience member in the leg with his finger.
  • Important Haircut: Ordered by President Barack Obama and done by Commander Gen. Odierno no less, to show that he'd really gone through (a little) basic training. See it all here.
    • Looking back on it, he thinks his hair never grew back the same.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Stephen Colbert's "I Need A Drink," a segment he did in response to the string of international disasters that happened in the couple of weeks before July 29, 2014. He started out with a Bud Light Lime and by the end of the segment was drinking isopropyl alcohol. Which still didn't work, as either the booze was broken, or the news was just too damn sobering.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Very intentional, and very funny.
  • 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.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Invoked and exaggerated when, after Bill O'Reilly made remarks about all Asians being hardworking, Colbert took the idea and ran with it, causing the show to experience technical difficulties three times before going to a commercial break.
  • 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."
  • Intoxication Ensues: The "little stamps" presented to Colbert by his interns, which turn out to be LSD.
  • Irishman and a Jew: The Report's sister show is anchored by Jon Stewart (born Jonathan Leibowitz). The dynamic between the two seems to tap into this old Vaudeville trope, though probably quite unintentionally. As in most such pairings, the Jewish half is sarcastic and exasperated with a world gone mad. In contrast, Colbert (who self-identifies as Irish-American) is irrationally self-confident and totally oblivious to the world around him, in keeping with the Irish half of many such pairings. It probably helps that Colbert's patriotism would put even George M. Cohan to shame.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Stephen has had several such incidents.
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: 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 TV Strikes 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.
    • The name was originally pronounced "Col-bert". Colbert's father wished to change it to "Col-Bear" but maintained the original pronunciation out of respect to his own father. He gave his children the option of choosing how to pronounce their name. This caused humorous tension when Stephen's lawyer brother came on the show since one goes by "Col-bear" while the other goes by "Col-bert".
    • Stephen promoted his sister Elizabeth Colbert Busch on his show when she was running for Congress, pronouncing her name Colburt.
    • When Stephen interviewed Eleanor Holmes Norton (Washington DC's non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives), Norton made a point of pronouncing the "T" in "Colbert" as a way of showing she had no patience humoring the affectations of others and wanted to get down to the business of sorting out DC statehood.
  • 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. Colbert the actor has said the character really does want to do the right thing and thinks he is but is too misinformed and arrogant to realize he has no idea what he's talking about.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool: In amongst all the biting parody, the real Stephen Colbert's devout but socially-progressive Catholicism — the man is a Sunday-school teacher! — manages to sneak in more than once, including one notable sequence where "Stephen" (the character) quite inadvertently concludes that the real Jesus would actually be a liberal Democrat.
  • Jumping the Shark: Invoked literally, as the title sequence for the second-to-last episode has Stephen jumping over the phrase "The Shark".
  • 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!
      Like mis hermanos The Dead Kennedys say, "Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill the poor!"
    • 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 Klan: There was an animated segment on one episode called Laser Klan, featuring a group of actionized Klansfolk working for the President (Obama) to defend the nation against an alien invasion.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Stephen portrays himself as an extremely far-right Republican/Christian Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • Konami Code: Stephen lays it down during his episode topics intro Couch Gags for the February 26, 2013 episode.
  • 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.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Subverted.
    Guest: Jesus said, "I am divine, and you are the branches."
    Colbert: Sir, God does not approve of puns.
    Colbert: But specifically it is a affront to the Christmas Trees' Lord and savior, Treesus
  • Lampshade Hanging: When discussing that "all things must come to an end," Stephen mentions, "Eventually, this show will be canceled."
  • Large Ham: Oh, yes.
    • Since Karl Rove refuses to come on the show, his substitute is literally a large canned ham with glasses. The resemblance is amazing.
    • Jeff Goldblum. This is becoming something of a Running Gag. And Colbert himself at many points can turn into one of these. He starts every episode trying to get in as many dramatic poses as possible.
  • Left It In: Commonly Played for Laughs.
  • Let's Duet: Stephen really likes getting people to sing with him. The list includes, but is not limited to, Jon Stewart, Dolly Parton, Alicia Keys, Julie Andrews, Harry Belafonte, Placido Domingo, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Alan Cumming, and pretty much everyone who has ever been on his show.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Said after Stephen rehires his staff after firing them to prove that he doesn't need help.
  • Literal Metaphor: When most people claim they "don't see race", they mean they avoid taking race into account when interacting with people. When Stephen says it, he means he literally can't tell what race people are — he can't even tell his own race; other people tell him he's white and he believes it because he fits the stereotypes.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Invoked by Stephen in this segment. Stephen concludes that things keep going wrong in the clean up of the Mexican Gulf oil spill because someone keeps making wishes with a cursed monkey paw bought in such a shop.
  • 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.
  • Logic Bomb: Stephen tried to have his Pandertron 8000 interpret some doubletalk from Newt Gingrich; it shorted out and decided to remove the source of illogical paradoxes by killing all humans.
  • Loophole Abuse: In a segment of Formidable 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).

  • Man in a Kilt: Stephen wears a kilt to show solidarity for Scotland in his segment on the Scottish independence referendum.
  • 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-Off Graphic 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.
  • Mathematician's Answer:
    Stephen: So do you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah?
    Bobby: Sure.
  • Media Scaremongering: 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".
  • Men Don't Cry: Except when they do.
  • Mirth to Power: The most prominent modern example of this trade.
  • Monkeys on a Typewriter: A June 2006 segment discusses how many monkeys are required to produce the works of various authors.
  • Metaphorgotten:
    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.
  • Mister Seahorse: Stephen's been pregnant at least twice on the show, once by his Evil Twin and once tragically by a box of Cheerios.
  • 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.
  • Moon-Landing Hoax: Stephen Colbert turned how his character doesn't believe in the Moon landing into a Running Gag.
    • On the June 7, 2006, edition, Colbert said "Tonight's guest is a pioneer in Mars exploration. Hopefully tonight he'll explain how they faked a space landing there too."
    • On the July 27, 2006, episode, Colbert said "And here's the Smithsonian Institute's Air and Space Museum, where you can see the original rocks from the soundstage where they faked the Moon landing. It's a part of Hollywood history."
    • On the August 1, 2007, edition, Colbert said, "Unless you've been on the moon this week, you know I broke my wrist. And if you have been on the moon, congratulations, you are the first!"
  • 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."
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Everything before Colbert started at The Daily Show is pretty fuzzy.
  • 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.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Colbert's... interesting relationship with coffee.
  • Mythology Gag: When the iPhone was first introduced, some reports began calling it a "God Machine". Colbert says, "That's not a God Machine. This... is a God Machine!" And he brings out the God Machine from his The Daily Show segment "This Week in God", and it pushes it to make Colbert's "beep boop boop" sounds.
  • 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.
    • Also spoofed in this debate over the superiority of lions or tigers:
      By the way, it's OK when they call each other "Tigger", but you should not.
  • Nerdgasm: Stephen had a four-day Nerdgasm in December 2012 in the form of "Hobbit Week", celebrating the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in which he interviewed Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, and Peter Jackson — in which he seemed genuinely excited to talk — and decked out the whole set in Tolkien paraphernalia. There was probably some kind of deal involved, but no doubt Stephen (described by Jackson as "the biggest Tolkien geek I have ever met") would have done it regardless.
    • Particularly when he lectured the movie people on the legendarium — most particularly when he explains the relationship of the LOTR Appendix and The Hobbit to Peter Jackson.
  • New Media Are Evil. Stephen takes on the bloggers with the help of Papa Bear.
  • 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.
  • Noisy Nature: That eagle cry in the opening credits does not sound like an eagle.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: In one episode, Colbert discussed a particularly alarmist spin on the looming food shortages... and ended it by apparently eating his stage manager Bobby. (And in the meantime imagining Bobby as a giant chicken rotisserie). And in a later episode, he ate Bobby's ghost.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Stephen uses those exact words in this clip about Barney Frank.
  • No Kill like Overkill: "That was not strip-mining; that's how I hunt quail."
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Stephen has an 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.
  • O.O.C. 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.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Brian Kilmeade of FOX & Friends is always referred to as "Brown-haired guy who is not Steve Doocy."
  • Opinion Myopia: invoked Played for laughs. If someone doesn't agree with Stephen, he will twist the words to make it sound like it's actually an agreement.
  • Oral Fixation: Stephen often licks things, not to mention his pen-chewing habit.
  • Oscar Bait: "For your Oscar consideration."
  • Out of Focus: Remember "Better Know a District"? Or the "On Notice" and "Dead to Me" boards? Those were fun.
  • Overly-Long Gag:
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Colbert on Fox Business — "It is the first place I turn for financial news when it is left on at my dentist."
  • Papa Bear: Doesn't mean what you think it does.
  • Parody Commercial: Several examples.
  • Pass the Popcorn: This .gif has started to show up as a response to internet drama.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: As mentioned above, The Colbert Report coined the words "truthiness" and "wikiality", which have since caught on among people.
  • Phony Degree: While the degree (an honorary doctorate of fine arts) is real, his insistence on it getting the same respect as an earned medical degree puts Stephen's doctorate here.
  • Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Fresh Hot Slice with Representative Brad Sherman.
  • Play-Along Prisoner
    Stephen: A zoo is nothing but monkey prison. Which means this monkey has made this zookeeper his bitch.
  • Played for Laughs: Obviously. Every trope that isn't already a comedy trope is played for laughs.
  • Poe's Law: The entire show is an example. To this day many think he's a serious far-right pundit and not just a parody, whether it's conservatives who love his show because they think he's a fellow conservative, or liberals who hate it for the same reason. May also apply to a smaller extent with moderate conservatives who think the show is about telling extremists to Stop Being Stereotypical. The fact that the real Colbert generally avoids saying where he truly stands and admits to occasionally agreeing with his character probably contributes, though he has suggested in the past that he's a liberal and Democrat.
  • Political Overcorrectness:
    • Colbert will occasionally make a clumsy stab at political correctness, such as calling a black hole an "African-American hole."
    • Russ Lieber, Colbert's liberal foil for the first year of the show, is unable to make any kind of statement without backtracking and stumbling over himself in an attempt to stay politically correct.
  • Pompous Political Pundit: Stephen plays a parody of one.
  • Porn Stache: Stephen is rocking the porn stache in his hypothetical gay porn career.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: invoked
    • Stephen comes up with Filliam H. Muffman for Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy.
    • On July 30, 2014, Colbert comes up with one for each pair among Justin Beiber, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr, and Selena Gomez.
  • The Power of Rock: His guitar duel with Wilco.
  • Precision F-Strike: Colbert uses these to expert hilarious effect.
    • (Strokes his gun Sweetness)'' "All-You-Can-Eat" means "All-You-Can-Eat-For-Life!" We're gonna get us some banana pudding, motherfuckers!
    • "Sarah Palin is a fucking retard!'' See, it's just satire."
    • 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 the money 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.
    • The #CancelColbert controversy, in which outrage at an out-of-context tweet from his joke mocking the racist name of the Washington Redskins charity ended up vastly overshadowing any potential outcry over the real-life racist organization that inspired the joke. Ironically, this led to supporters of #CancelColbert attacking the Native activists who started the original protest against the real-life racist organization with the claim that they were getting in the way of the fight against racism. This resulted in a pissed off Stephen dropping a prominently uncensored s-bomb in the middle, even though "shit" is normally bleeped out.
  • Press X to Die: The Machine That Turns Itself Off. note 
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: "Videri Quam Esse" is engraved above the (fake) fireplace — it means "to seem to be rather than to be."
  • Product Placement:
    • 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.
    • "I have an iPad! :D"
    • He's also used product placement as an excuse to drink real beer (well, Bud Light Lime). On television. Twice. In the same week.
    • There was also the night that Bing promised to donate $2,500 to relief for the Gulf oil spill every time he said "bing." He was up to the challenge.
    • Every time Jeff Goldblum appears he makes sure to plug Law & Order: Criminal Intent, regardless of how apropos it is or isn't... but he won't be doing that anymore; the show was canceled in June 2011.
    • 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 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."
  • Pungeon Master
    Colbert: [on same-sex marriage law passing in New York state] Folks, I am not happy, or "gay", that this law passed. I'm very sad, or "heterosexual".
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: This is how Colbert tries to convince Julie Andrews to sing "Accentuate the Positive" with him — he just starts singing it himself while gazing at her with the softest, puppiest, most pleading pair of big brown eyes you ever did see. She joins in.

  • Quote Mine: the Edit Challenge.
    • Colbert does a similar thing when talking about people that called Paul Ryan's speech "misleading", "breathtakingly dishonest", and "world record for greatest number of blatant lies" into "breathtaking", "lead", "world", and "shone" (from "dishonest).
  • 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).
  • Raygun Gothic: Tek Jansen is an Affectionate Parody of the genre.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: In Stephen's interview with Republican Congressman candidate Jake Rush, Rush expresses some concern when Stephen shows off his gun, Sweetness, and points her barrel at his own head.
  • 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 who are 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.
  • Retraux: Colbert's retrospective on the 40th anniversary of Nixon's resignation, complete with 1970s-style costuming, graphics and him smoking a cigarette while doing the interviews.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Sweetness, Stephen's third-generation Colt Detective Special that talks to Stephen, or so he claims.
  • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: When Stephen uncovered "lost footage" from an interview with Bill O'Reilly, Stephen introduced it as "a conundrum wrapped in a riddle covered with a spicy enigma sauce."
  • Robot War: Most times robots are mentioned Stephen warns about how they will turn against us and start a Robot War.
    • This segment of the threatdown contains two instances of Stephen's dire warning.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Coupled with not using spellcheck at all when Stephen sings America's praises.
  • Rule of Three: "That's three. Three times makes it true."
  • Running Gag: Lots.
  • Sadistic Choice: He had an Actual Pacifist play Marry/Dump/Bomb with Iran, Pakistan, or North Korea. He bombed North Korea. Clip found here.
  • Sarcasm Mode: On a meta level, 90% of the show is this.
  • Saying Too Much: Most infamously, in response to Bill O'Reilly's claim that Colbert "blew me right away".
  • Say My Name:
    • "RICKLES!"
    • "BENNETT!"
    • "MANILOW!"
      • The dance-off has him saying Rain's name about five times in a row in various different ways.
    • "KANYE!"
    • "OBAMA!"
    • "GORE!"
    • "FALLON!!"
  • Scandalgate: Stephen referred to Michelle Obama shaking the hand of Indonesia's Health Minister as "Handergate."
    • Then there's the "Asparagusgate". In fact, he has covered quite a few "gates" so far.
  • Scare Chord: Used along with a sudden camera change while Stephen tells the nation something allegedly horrifying in order to promote his March to Keep Fear Alive.
  • See You in Hell: Parodied at the end of each "Cheating Death" health segment: "This is Stephen Colbert, and I'll see you in health!"
  • Self-Deprecation: About his rivalry with Rain.
    Stephen: 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 down 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 the bully by slamming his head over and over into a locker, which finishes with him breaking down and sobbing over his childhood trauma 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.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: Inverted, when Cookie Monster appeared in his show.
  • Sex Bot: On reporting about the world's first Sex Bot And it wasn't the Japanese, it's us! Ain't that a kick in the head?
    Stephen: And they say America doesn't make anything anymore!
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Stephen's segment detailing his love affair with a Jewish man named Jonathan.
    • The man who kept getting shot by Sweetness. When Stephen finally killed Death and took his immortality with Sweetness, he tossed the gun to the man, who caught it. And promptly shot himself.
  • 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.
  • Shared Universe: Colbert has recently confessed that, as far as he's concerned, The Colbert Report shares the same universe as Strangers with Candy. In fact, Tim Meadow's black Republican P.K. Winsome is the same character as Tim Meadow's opportunistic grief councilor Percy Kittens from Strangers with Candy.
  • Shout-Out: Among the people who've donated to Colbert's SuperPAC are Lord Sauron, John Galt, Jerri Blank, R Inglip, D.B. Cooper, and Jesus of Nazareth.
    • And that's not mentioning the non-shout out Double Entendre Punny Name Suq Madiq, to which Stephen aired his own segment, detailing how Suq made his parents very proud, his dad Liqa Madiq, and his mother who uses her maiden name, Munchma Quchi.
    • 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.
    • Watch the end of this clip from the 8/7/14 show... IMAGINATION!
  • Side Effects Include...: 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 Pharmaceuticals' 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 
  • Significant Birth Date: The eagle named after Stephen was born on Patriots' Day. Stephen hopes that this will be a significant birthday and that Stephen, Jr., will grow up to become the first raptor president.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Parodied as part of the show's main premise.
  • Spell My Name With A PH: The segment about "Stephens With A PH". The first subject was Stephen King; Stephen Fry will also be featured (eventually).
  • Soccer-Hating Americans: In advance of the 2014 World Cup, Stephen announced he was feeling "the soccer equivalent of excitement" and eagerly awaited a series of 1-1 ties.
  • 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.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Colbert stalks his ex-girlfriend Charlene, despite her restraining order against him. So he formed a prog-rock band "Stephen and the Colberts" and wrote a song about it. It later became a song in Rock Band.
  • 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 realizing 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 segments.
    • 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.
  • The Straight Man: Jay the Intern. Poor guy.
  • 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 talk show, 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.
    • Parodied in the "Worthy Opponent" segments, where instead of cherry-picking a strawman who will cave in and agree with everything the pundit says, he is both strawman and pundit.
  • Studio Audience: Obviously.
  • 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.
  • Sudden Musical Ending: The final episode of the show ends with a giant Crowd Song with a few hundred of Stephen's past guests and the Colbert Report staff.
  • Subverted Punchline: Stephen mentioned a story about Burger King advertising Windows 7 and said that Apple needed its own fast food tie-in that would be "big...for mac." He decides it should be Carl's Jr.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: When discussing torture, Stephen summed this fallacy up nicely: "We must do whatever it takes to justify what we've already done."
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • Stephen's team of not-8-year-old-Malaysian-child-labours took a few days to sort through suggestions for Stephen's SuperPAC.
    • The Definitely-Not-Coordinated-With-Stephen-Colbert-SuperPAC
  • Take That!: This man makes his entire career out of these.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The "Ham Rove" Running Gag; Stephen can't get Karl Rove on the show, so he finds a stand-in- a rack of deli ham wearing glasses.
    • The French-Canadian and lethally foul-mouthed Stephan Colbert.
  • Temporal Paradox: When Stephen wanted to lure his future 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?
  • Tempting Fate:
  • The Tag: "Oh, hi! I didn't see you there."
  • 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.
    "Keep typing, BITCH!"
  • Three-Point Landing: In the opening credits, with an American flag.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Stephen keeps a pitchfork in the Hammerspace under his desk and since he already refers to the Studio Audience as "the mob", it was only a matter of time.
  • Translation Train Wreck: Parodied when Colbert showed Google Translate's take on a Korean article about his rivalry with Rain.
  • Trash Talk: Stephen loves to trash talk and he is good at it.
  • Transparent Closet:
    • It's heavily implied outright stated that Stephen (in-character) has repressed homosexual tendencies.
    • Baby carrots are trying to make him gay.
    • 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.
  • Trash the Set: Smaug demolishes a whole section of the set just so he has enough room to appear on the show. Of course, this doesn't really happen, as it's all CGI and back to normal by the next show- or Colbert has some wicked skilled repairmen.
  • 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.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Gulpzilla, in the January 13, 2011 episode.
  • 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."

  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Stephen expresses bewilderment at how Dennis Kucinich got married to his (taller, younger, redheaded) wife.
  • Unknown Rival
    Colbert: Ted Nugent has condemned your generation as lazing and apathetic. Your response?
    NYU Student: Who's Ted Nugent?
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: According to Stephen, Donald Trump.
    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.
  • Voice Clip Song: According to some liberal pundit, Mitt Romney's stay-at-home wife has "never worked a day in her life". Naturally, this was made into a techno remix by Stephen.
  • Volleying Insults:
    • Even Stevphens with Steve Carell. Many insults were thrown back and forth. A snippet:
      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.
    • And of course with Rain (via recorded messages):
      Rain: Let's just say, don't quit your day job.
      Stephen: My day job happens to be president of the "I Hate Rain Fanclub"!
  • Wait, What?: In the episode that covered Owen Bundy's victory against the Federal Government after Bundy and a group of armed ranchers made federal law enforcement officers back down from apprehending Bundy after he refused to shell over $1 million in grazing fees that he had accumulated over the years, Colbert began singing "The Ballad of Owen Bundy" in commemoration. When Bundy told a news crew "Let me tell something else I know about the negro," Colbert stopped singing and allowed Bundy to explain his point. Bundy went on a tirade where he explained that high percentage of single mother homes, the high rates of incarceration rate and reliance on government assistance, like food stamps, is proof that they don't know how to live in freedom, and would be better off being slaves again because during slavery, black families stayed together.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: An occasional gag used for particularly outrageous character moments, such as the angry sulk scene at the beginning of the first show following Barack Obama's re-election.
  • 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.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: It seems that Stephen has some very deep approval-from-a-father-figure issues.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Stephen Colbert thinks Anderson Cooper's eyes are gorgeous. In all fairness, so do a sizable number of fangirls. And fanboys.
  • 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.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: While Stephen talking about how the Pentagon was teaching robots about ethics, his robot Bleep Blorp came out from backstage and told him about how it had learned about ethics from its cousin, a coffee maker in the Pentagon. They had a short discussion which ended when Bleep Blorp asked "What is this thing you humans call love?" and Stephen volunteered to show it, before simply pulling out its kill switch, deactivating it.
  • Wiki Vandal: Wikiality, the process of something becoming true because enough people believe it. At one point it was deemed on Wikipedia that the population of elephants had tripled because people had deemed it so.
  • With Us or Against Us: Stephen is like this about everything. Divides Supermarket Into 'Cheese' and 'Not Cheese'.
    Stephen: War And Peace? Pick a side, we're at war.
  • Word, Schmord!: "Evolution, Schmevolution" Week.
  • 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.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: "Exclusive Vancouverage of the 2010 Quadrennial Cold-Weather Athletic Competition".
    • He relentlessly mocked the NFL's notorious jealous guarding of its trademarks by "shifting one letter." Behold coverage of the "Superb Owl"!
  • Written-In Infirmity: When Stephen broke his wrist, he milked it for humorous effect by pretending to become addicted to his painkillers and delirious from overdosing, and made sure to call attention to this "Wristrong" (Wrist Strong) bracelet at every opportunity.
  • Wrong Insult Offence: While covering the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash, Stephen made mention of an incident in which the fictitious pilot names "Sum Ting Wong", "Wi Tu Lo", "Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow" were broadcast on the news.
    Colbert: I don't care who confirmed these names! It is wrong! I mean, "Wi Tu Lo"? "Bang Ding Ow"? This is a Korean airline; those are Chinese names! That's racist, OK! And if you're going to do a racist joke, at least get the ethnicity right! Like Captain "Park Ma Plen Tu-Sun" or "Ha Yu Lan Dis Tang"!
  • "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.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: The inauguration of Barack Obama caused Stephen to cry with massive amounts of mascara running and snot hanging from his nose.


Video Example(s):


Underwood on Colbert

Frank Underwood appears on The Colbert Report to discuss a proposed jobs program.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

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Main / LenoDevice

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