On May 9th, 2005, the first episode of “The Colbert Report” aired on Comedy Central, marking the beginning of a nine-year run that would change the landscape of political satire.
The show was created by Stephen Colbert, a former correspondent for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Colbert’s character on the show was a right-wing blowhard and pundit who used sarcasm and irony to skewer the conservative media and politicians. The character was inspired by the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, and he quickly became a fan favorite.
One of the most memorable moments from the show’s early days was Colbert’s interview with Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, who had co-sponsored a bill to display the Ten Commandments in the U.S. Capitol. When Colbert asked Westmoreland if he could name all Ten Commandments, the Congressman could only name three. The interview was widely circulated online and became a defining moment for the show.
Over the course of its nine seasons, “The Colbert Report” tackled a wide range of political and social issues, from the Iraq War to climate change to the legalization of marijuana. Colbert’s character was known for his catchphrases, such as “truthiness” and “I don’t see race.” The show also featured a number of recurring segments, including “The Word” and “Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger.”
“The Colbert Report” was not only a success in terms of ratings and critical acclaim, but it also had a significant impact on American culture. Colbert’s character became a cultural touchstone, with references to him appearing in everything from “The Simpsons” to “30 Rock.” The show also popularized the concept of “truthiness,” which was named the Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society in 2006.
But perhaps the most significant legacy of “The Colbert Report” was its impact on political discourse. The show paved the way for a new generation of political satirists, including John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Hasan Minhaj. These comedians have continued to use humor to hold politicians and the media accountable, and they have become an important part of the national conversation.
In 2014, Colbert announced that he would be leaving “The Colbert Report” to take over as the host of “The Late Show” on CBS. While it can be said that this was a positive move for Colbert’s career the new role was considered by many much less funny and less inclined to rock the boat. Many fans who had grown to love Colbert’s character and his unique brand of satire missed the former, some say less corporate controlled version of Colbert.