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During a segment that featured Colbert responding to a two-minute message from Burns to fans — which has gone viral since its posting on Tuesday — Burns appeared on the late night show to offer some emotional support, including a hug, as Colbert worked through Steve’s decision to go to college and exit as the first host of Blue’s Clues.
“Although I was aware of the show because of my kids, those kids are all grown up and moved away now,” Colbert said during his replay of the video. “So, obviously, I have no emotional investment in Steve.”
But when Burns suddenly appeared on the stage, Colbert went glossy-eyed, asking, “What are you doing here?” Steve, with his signature optimism and gentleness, responded that he just wanted to check in and see if the Late Show host was OK.
“I just came by, I wanted to see if you were OK,” he said. “I mean, you — you seem kind of upset, and I just wanted to know if maybe wanted a hug. I mean, that’s what friends do, right?”
“I mean if you need one or whatever,” Colbert responded, to audience cheers. Burns’ visit to the show ended in a classic Blue’s Clues way, with the late night host revealing a clue — stamped with puppy Blue’s paw — from behind his desk. Burns quickly responded, “Wow, great job, Stephen, let’s go tell Blue!” before the two ran off the stage.
The bit came just two days after Nickelodeon posted a message from the original Blue’s Clues host as part of the show’s 25th anniversary. Speaking to the now-adult millennial viewers who grew up with Burns on the show, which first debuted in 1995, he acknowledged that his departure in 2002 to go to college was a bit abrupt, but that it gave him and his viewers the chance to grow up and accomplish many things, like starting a family and career.
“I guess I just wanted to say that, after all these years, I never forgot you … ever. And I’m super glad we’re still friends,” he ended the message.
The video message followed previous comments from Burns about the actual reason behind his departure in the 2006 special, Behind the Clues: 10 Years With Blue.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be doing children’s television all my life, mostly because I refused to lose my hair on a kid’s TV show, and it was happening — fast,” he explained.
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