Stephen Colbert begins his gig as host of the Late Show next week, so we’ve rounded up a list of the Charleston native’s top 10 moments since 2005, when the Colbert Report first aired. Ok, well one moment is from before then, but it all led to the hilarious satirical show. We’ll admit that we’re a little bit nervous — we loved the Colbert Report and we were big fans of John Stewart on the Daily Show. What if this new arrangement isn’t as funny? What if Colbert peaked at truthiness, and we’re all too blind to see it? Fortunately, we think Mr. Colbert will do just fine. He managed to stun into silence a room of White House correspondents, after all (see No. 2 for more deets on that).
These moments are listed in no particular order. They’re all awesome.
1) The March to Keep Fear Alive. This march on the National Mall, combined with John Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity, was thought to be a response to Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally. With an approximate showing of 215,000 marchers, this event highlights the power of America’s favorite two faux political commentators. We personally just like the hoopla around the rally, specifically Colbert’s appearance on The View, where he fakes a walk off, poking fun at Whoopi Goldberg’s prior walk-off protesting a rabble-rousing guest — Bill O’Reilly himself.
2) The White House Correspondents Dinner. Colbert, the final speaker at the White House correspondents’ dinner, follows both current president George W. Bush and his father, Bush Senior. Big shoes, right? Not for Colbert. For perhaps the first time ever Colbert leaves a room of journalists and politicians speechless. Seriously, watch the video. It’s super uncomfortable which also makes it classic Colbert — sticking it to the man in front of the man himself. The group may not have understand the depth of Colbert’s satire, but with over three million YouTube views, America seems to be in on the joke.
3) “And Nothing but the Truthiness” Colbert’s early life is indicative of his later success — at least, according to biographer Lisa Rogak. Colbert was the youngest of 11 children and when he was 10 his father and two brothers died in a plane crash. A lot of comedians seek refuge in laughter as a means of coping with tragedy, and we like to think that the Colbert Report has helped him deal with his loss.
4) Colbert runs for president. The key word here is “run,” since Colbert says that’s all he wanted to do — he didn’t actually want to be president. Colbert ran the campaign solely in South Carolina, and while the Democratic party wouldn’t let him on the official ballot, some polls showed Colbert earning more votes than at least one Democratic Party candidate.
5) Colbert’s various efforts to raise money for the Yellow Ribbon campaign, a non-profit that assists injured vets. Whatever his character or real-life persona’s political views are, Colbert makes sure to give back to the troops. We could argue all day about the war in Iraq, but there’s no arguing with good deeds for some of the country’s bravest men and women. Colbert’s faux presidential campaign raised funds for the group, along with his “WristStrong” project (a play on Lance Armstrong’s bracelets inspired by Colbert’s broken wrist). In 2009 Colbert gave the Yellow Ribbon Fund a check for $171,525.
6) Truthiness is proclaimed Merriam-Webster’s 2006 Word of the Year. Truthiness pokes fun at Fox News and other conservative media outlets who use feelings and skewed statistics as a stand in for facts. Colbert debuted the word in his first episode in the Report, so to say he started off strong is an understatement. Supporting his word of the day with such claims as “If I want to say the Panama Canal was finished in 1941, that’s my right” and “I don’t trust books,” Colbert set the stage for the absurd hilarity of his show’s decade-long run.
7) The #CancelColbert campaign of 2015. A gang of Colbert haters, who clearly don’t understand his kind of comedy, started the CancelColbert hashtag in response to Colbert’s joke that he would start a Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever. Colbert was joking, of course, and making some valid social commentary about the Washington Redskins starting a charity for Native Americans. Just change the name, guys.
8) Colbert laughs, 2011. The man didn’t break character often, but when Suq Madiq, a fictional Arab American, donated to Colbert’s SuperPAC, he couldn’t help but hide a giggle. Come on, it’s funny.
9) Colbert’s visit to Vicco, Ky. The visit was set up to interview citizens about their gay mayor — and it backfired in a wonderful way, with the citizens’ long Kentucky drawls championing the mayor and everything he’s done for the town. And here we thought they were going to shun him … Colbert opening our minds and hearts on the daily.
10) Colbert gets musical. In 2010 Colbert wins a Grammy (yes, a Grammy) for best comedy album which features Elvis Costello. In 2013 Daft Punk cancels on Colbert and he shoots one of our favorite music videos of all time. Featuring Jeff Bridges, Bryan Cranston, and Matt Damon dancing in a phone booth filled with confetti, Colbert’s version of the “Get Lucky” video is almost as hip as the French duo’s.