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Stephen Colbert is replacing David Letterman as host of CBS’ Late Show in 2015 after years on Comedy Central’s Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
During his 10-year run on The Report, Colbert’s faux-conservative late-night host has had a slew of memorable moments. The Hollywood Reporter highlights the top five, from The Colbert Report pilot in 2005 to last week’s #CancelColbert hoopla.
VIDEO: David Letterman’s 10 Most Memorable ‘Late Show’ Moments
As recently as last week, Colbert found himself the subject of a Twitter campaign, #CancelColbert, after the show’s official account @ColbertReport tweeted a racial joke without context. “The dark forces trying to silence my message of core conservative principles mixed with youth-friendly product placement have been thwarted,” he said on March 31, after proclaiming that “the Interwebs tried to swallow me whole.” Colbert’s response to the #CancelColbert outcry was met with universal praise. (Twitter co-founder Biz Stone would later help Colbert shut down @ColbertReport.) Looks like #CancelColbert worked for the better.
Daft Punk Cancels
French electropop duo Daft Punk got reamed by Colbert after failing to show up for a scheduled appearance last August, and the host used the incident to break some news. “We booked Click and Clack over here about a month ago,” Colbert said during the Aug. 6, 2013, telecast. “Apparently, Daft Punk are going to make a surprise appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards. Don’t tell anyone, because fun fact: No one told me until two hours ago.” What resulted was an all-star dance music video starring Hugh Laurie, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Jimmy Fallon and Jon Stewart. (For the record, Daft Punk — which some expected to perform at the VMAs — only presented.)
Rarely does the faux conservative host break, but when he does, it’s quite entertaining. One of the most memorable — and funniest — Colbert Report moments came when Colbert failed to get through a prewritten bit about a Muslim contributor named “Suq Madiq” and his family (father “Liqa Madiq,” mother “Munchma Quchi”) to his Colbert Super Pac. “I read that and I loved it and we’d gone through rehearsal and I could barely breathe in rehearsal and when we got to the show, I honestly thought that I would be fine,” he said at a November 2013 event. “It seemed like if I take a breath first [it would be OK] … ‘and of course his mother,’ and before the “M” even came out of my mouth I’m like, ‘I’m done. I’m just done.’ “
As part of the 2006 “Guitarmaggedon” special, Colbert and Peter Frampton competed against The Decemberists and managed to get Henry Kissinger to introduce the competition and announce the winner. Kissinger was willing to say “It’s time to rock,” and “I think the American people won” when asked who won the contest. But there was one thing he wouldn’t say, leaving a hilarious-sounding comment on the cutting room floor: “Where are my pancakes? I was promised pancakes.”
Colbert debuted as The Colbert Report host on Oct. 17, 2005, and he was off to a fast start, premiering his popular daily “The Word” segment and coining the word “Truthiness.” As Colbert defined it, “truthiness” means a “truth” that a person making an argument or assertion claims to know intuitively “from the gut” or because it “feels right” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. It was voted 2005’s Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society and in 2006 by Merriam-Webster.
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