Stephen Colbert is a thoughtful and thought provoking comedian. He also has the sense of humor of an 8th grade boy.
My fellow Americans, last week I had the pleasure of being a guest on the film and television podcast Seeing & Believing. They brought me in to shine a light on a subject I am a bit of an expert in: “not being able to shut up about how great Stephen Colbert is.”
In fact, the whole reason I was invited onto the show is because of something I tweeted out in desperation.
Stephen Colbert takes over The Late Show tonight. If you’re not all that excited for it, let me share some of my favorite Colbert clips to help explain why this show is going to be so great.
“Colbert Loves to Play”
This was a major point I kept making on Seeing & Believing. Colbert jumps at any invitation to interrupt the norm and run after something silly in any moment. Here are two of my favorite examples.
Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell are lifelong friends who’ve worked together for a couple decades. During this interview to promote Carell’s Get Smart there’s this beautiful exchange between the two. I love how you can clearly see what they’re REALLY saying to each other underneath what they’re saying to each other. “Are we really going to do this?” “I’m willing. You chicken?” “I’m not scared.” And the interview is put on pause so they can play.
Another clip I love to show is from when Colbert and Jon Stewart presented at the Emmy’s a few years ago. The best part is when it’s time to announce the winner. Jon Stewart initiates something ridiculous and I LOVE the look on Colbert’s face. He can’t believe they’re about to interrupt the Emmy’s for this stupid moment. And everyone goes for it. The part worth watching starts at 3:31.
Colbert is pretty open about his Catholic faith. This clip especially shows a real love/understanding/appreciation for Christ’s teaching on caring for the poor. What’s so great about this is that the message is not compromised for the sake of jokes and the jokes are not compromised for the sake of the message. It’s equally funny and powerful. If only mainstream Christian entertainment understood how to do that.
Colbert makes it very clear that a lot of who he is today is a result of working with Jon Stewart. In Stewart’s last episode of The Daily Show Colbert was able to give a really nice heartfelt speech on behalf of everyone who worked for Stewart.
The best part of the clip is what happens when Stewart tries to throw to commercial. Several years ago, Stewart made it a practice to surprise a Daily Show correspondent with a touching goodbye tribute on their last show. The best example of this is when Jon Stewart made John Oliver cry like a baby. It’s really funny to see the tables turn. Also, Colbert is so well spoken. I want to talk like him one day. The part worth watching starts at 3:13.
Colbert’s 8th Grader Sense of Humor
In the episode of Seeing & Believing I was the guest on, we got into some deep discussions on subjects like suffering and joy. And it was because of who Stephen Colbert is and what he does. He is a thoughtful and thought provoking comedian. What I love about Colbert is the fact that he can be all those things while at the same time being very stupid and childish. You don’t have to choose a side. He’s both.
The whole time we were having our very serious conversation on the podcast I kept thinking about this moment. Warning: this whole clip is about an inappropriate joke.
Every time I watch this clip from the series finale of The Colbert Report I end up getting emotional. Because I’m a big dumb baby. And because it brings me so much joy. Colbert ends his show after 9 years with the most impressive sing-a-long ever assembled. It’s insane how many celebrities they were able to get to say goodbye to the show. And they’re all standing together. And they’re all singing.
Often times satire and political humor can alienate and cause division. Colbert never pulled punches when going after this politician or whatever controversial issue, but how amazing that, at the end of day, Colbert was able to bring more people together than separate.
This clip is crazy. We’ve got George Lucas, Mike Huckabee, Willie Nelson, James Franco, Big Bird, Patrick Stewart, and celebrities blocking the view of other celebrities.
It’s clips like this that make me excited for the new The Late Show. The guest lists for the first two weeks of shows have already been released and it’s clear Colbert is building up an eclectic family all over again. CEOs, politicians, and Stephen King? In the first week!? What if Stephen King became the Justin Timberlake to Colbert’s Fallon. HA! I’d love to see their song parodies.
We have a lot to look forward to. Stephen Colbert takes over on CBS tonight. Please check it out.