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The Late Show With Stephen Colbert is one of the 2021 Peabody Award winners, with Colbert’s longtime friend and fellow Daily Show alum Steve Carell presenting the CBS late-night show with the honor via video on Monday.
The video announcement, which The Hollywood Reporter is revealing exclusively, is just one of the 30 Peabody winners set to be unveiled over the course of this week, with the presentations taking place from June 21-24 on social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) and the Peabody Awards’ website from 9-10:30 a.m. PT. Winners were selected from the sixty nominees revealed in May.
In his presentation, Carell says he’s known the “enormously talented” Colbert for more than 30 years and that Colbert is “the only Peabody Award winner whose car I’ve thrown up in.”
“He’s being honored for creating a TV show that not only entertains but it serves a greater purpose,” Carell says. “As a writer, performer and a satirist, he has the ability to distill a complicated situation into something funny. He knows that being able to laugh at the horrible absurdity of the world, makes it bearable.”
After clips of Colbert’s Late Show from the past year, including the host’s memorable bathtub-set broadcast at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and his celebration of Biden’s win, Colbert accepted the award from the converted storage room that served as the Late Show studio before the CBS program brought back a live audience for shows from the stage of New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater.
“There’s this parable I think about from the gospel of Luke about the dangers of putting new wine in old bottles, which feels like what we’ve been trying to do for the past six years, take this TV format, which has been with us for almost 70 years and put our new wine in it. I’m so gratified that you liked the vintage,” Colbert said in his acceptance speech. “Now that I’ve used that wine metaphor, everything I drank during quarantine can be written off as a business expense.”
Noting that the Peabody Awards are given to “stories that matter,” Colbert says that the past year has “given us all lots of stories that rank high on the matter-o-meter.”
“They weren’t always easy to deal with, let alone make into a light entertainment program. But my Peabody award-winning team got through it together, even though we did all of it apart,” Colbert said, earlier praising the Peabody as an award that goes to everyone who works on the show. “My staff and crew worked in their bedrooms and closets and kitchens, Zooming in from California to Colorado to a small island off the coast of Maine. The fact that we were able to make a TV show at all, let alone one that would be honored by the Peabodys is a miracle.”
Colbert previously won two Peabody Awards for The Colbert Report, with the honor frequently mentioned on the series, including in a bit in which Cookie Monster appears to have eaten one of the awards.
Watch the full video of Carell presenting The Late Show with a Peabody Award below.
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