Today is an important day in my personal history. At 11:30 PM, the final episode of The Colbert Report will air on Comedy Central. There are a few things I’d like to say about this moment.
I am the biggest fan of The Colbert Report that there is. I was 13 when the first episode aired. I watched it that night, and the next, and the next. I have never missed an episode. I have a copy of I Am America (And So Can You!) and America Again. I have a Wriststrong bracelet. I had one (of the many that I purchased) pint of Americone Dream signed by Jerry himself of Ben & Jerry’s (unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting Ben to complete the project). I have the “Best of” DVD they made for the show, which I showed to my class when I was a student teacher a number of years ago. I spent a ridiculous amount of money to travel, by myself, to Washington, DC, to attend the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. I’ve traveled to New York twice to see the show in person… the first time I went, it was cancelled because of Stephen’s mother passing away.
I won a VIP ticket to see the show because the Colbert Report Twitter account (before it was deleted due to the #CancelColbert controversy) said: “Send us a tweet explaining why you’re the biggest fan of The Colbert Report to win tickets for the show!” I sent a dozen tweets or so, mentioning things like how I’ve done more than a few paintings and art projects of Colbert, and that I had made a demo videogame in the style of Mega Man featuring Stephen Colbert running through New York fighting bears and robots with his lightsaber from The Green Screen Challenge and his gun, Sweetness. I was not surprised at all to win that contest. Thanks to my VIP ticket, I sat in the front row and got to high-five Stephen when he came on the set. He does a question-and-answer session before the show, and he called on me. I asked him if he and his collaborators ever consider the immense positive impacts on the nation that result from some of the show’s segments. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Nope! It’s purely comedy.” At the end of the session, a large worm-like bug fell from the ceiling and landed in Stephen’s hair, which disturbed him greatly. He said, “I’m not a bug guy.” At the top of the show that evening he improvised and said, “Nation, I have a bug up my ass, and that’s not the only place!” It was this great inside joke between him and the audience, and it made it on the air!
Because of Stephen’s excellent satire and ability to present the news in a fun, informative way, I was inspired to pursue journalism, which today I have a degree in. I literally chose my major because of my favorite TV show. I wrote my college application essay about how inspirational of a figure Stephen Colbert is.
Today I’m 22. It has been nine beautiful years that I have watched The Colbert Report, from my early teens to my early adulthood. I doubt I’ll ever again have such a strong connection to a TV program. I am going to miss the show. I think I’ve already demonstrated how attached to it I am.
Yet, I don’t mind. The news is depressing, no matter how funny Stephen was able to make it. Journalism isn’t my career field, even though I have a degree in it. My life has changed. I don’t really need The Colbert Report anymore. The positive impact it has had on my life has already occurred. I, like Stephen, am ready to move on. But I’m never going to forget how important this show has been to me.
I made the following picture just for this post. It’s taken from a screencap of some episode from a couple years ago. When Stephen enters a room, he lights it up and has this commanding, but charismatic and joyful, presence. That’s what this picture is about.