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Remembering ‘The Colbert Report’ — a friend to the NewsHour

After nine years at the helm of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert will bid adieu tonight to his ultra-conservative alter ego. Beginning in September, the man behind the myth will be taking the reins from the retiring David Letterman as host of the “Late Show.”

For fans who have loved Colbert’s cheeky take on the absurdity of extreme politicking, seeing him in this new role will be a change. When the news of his selection was announced in April, he said that he would leave his “Report” character behind.

But NPR TV critic Eric Deggans said that fans won’t be all that shocked, as Colbert has been slowly dialing up his own personality in recent episodes.

“I think people are gonna be surprised by how much of the real Colbert they have already seen,” he told PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown today. “And it will just be up to him to decide what that new framework is going to be on the CBS ‘Late Show.'”

On tonight’s NewsHour, we’ll have more on Stephen Colbert and why his character was able to hit a nerve with audiences.

As we say goodbye to “The Colbert Report,” we feature some of the comedian’s best interviews. We’ve selected three that we’ll think you’ll enjoy!


On Nov. 27, 2006, Colbert interviewed NewsHour co-founder Jim Lehrer where the PBS host admitted that the program isn’t interested in ratings and that he is “bias-free.”

And on April 15, 2009, Lehrer returned to promote his latest book, “Oh Johnny,” his 19th novel. Wowed by the anchor’s productivity, he wondered if Lehrer hadn’t kept a keyboard under his desk so that he could type away while Mark Shields and David Brooks “are just jabbering on.”

Just last year, on Oct. 23, 2013, Colbert welcomed NewsHour’s newest anchors, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. Again Colbert referenced Mark and David when he suggested that, in order to spice up the show, the two columnists should “fight in a pit.” Gwen and Judy passed on that.

Bonus: In 2011, Colbert featured a segment on behavioral economics, illustrated with a clip from the Muppet Grover and a very special “Muppet made of leather,” our very own Paul Solman. Paul didn’t take too kindly to the assertion, so he issued a retort:

Editor’s note: This post was updated to reflect the correct last day of “The Colbert Report” broadcast. It was Thursday.

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