'Colbert Report' Gets All-Star Sendoff

Jon Stewart, James Franco, Bryan Cranston, George Lucas and J.J. Abrams are among the dozens of stars who joined Stephen Colbert's final episode

Stephen Colbert has said his final words as the conservative host he's played since 2005.

"If this is your first time tuning into the Colbert Report, I have some terrible news," Colbert said on Thursday's series finale. "This is in fact your last time tuning into the Colbert Report — until ten years from now when they reboot it with J.J. Abrams."

In his final The Word segment, Colbert proclaimed that during his nine years on air, he did something more difficult than changing the world, he "samed" the world. (In other words, the world stayed the same and has not progressed since 2005).

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"Look around. Another Bush Governor is running for the White House," Colbert said. "People on TV are defending torture. We're sending troops into Iraq."

Colbert went on to give credit to his fans for all of the ambitious things he did during his tenure.

"Running for president, saving the Olympics, Colbert Super PAC, treadmill in space, the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, and Cat Stevens' career. None of that was me," Colbert said. "You, the nation, did all of that. I just got paid for it."

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But the big finale was an all-star sing-along of "We'll Meet Again," led by Randy Newman. Here's a small sampling of those in the crowd: Jon Stewart, James Franco, Bryan Cranston, George Lucas, Willie Nelson, Tom Brokaw, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Jeff Daniels, Keith Olbermann, Sam Waterston, Charlie Rose, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Barry Manilow, Patrick Stewart, Arianna Huffington, Bob Costas, Tim Meadows, Gloria SteinemKatie CouricDavid Gregory and Eliot Spitzer.

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Meanwhile, Bill Clinton, Vince Gilligan and J.J. Abrams appeared during the song in pretaped segments.

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Earlier, Colbert accidentally killed recurring Grim Reaper character Grimmy, causing the host to believe he had conquered death — a conceit that played into his final moments on the show, in which he rode off on Santa's sleigh with Abraham Lincoln and Alex Trebek.

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In a nod to Colbert shedding his conservative character, Stewart introduced the Moment of Zen, which was a 2010 outtake in which Colbert broke character while taping the nightly handoff from The Daily Show to The Colbert Report. A producer is heard telling him to get back into character.

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To prove he was doing so, a laughing Colbert said, "I'm angry at liberals."

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Colbert will take over for David Letterman at CBS' The Late Show next year. Colbert began his career at Comedy Central in 1997 as a correspondent for The Daily Show and branched off on his own with The Colbert Report in 2005. Comedy Central will fill the Colbert Report time slot with The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore beginning Jan. 19.

Email: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch 

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