Stephen Colbert is not your average television personality. Known for his out-sized, bald eagle-loving alter ego, the comedian turned a gig on The Daily Show into his own Comedy Network spinoff — The Colbert Report — and a brash level of celebrity that embraced a blend of fact and fiction.
The announcement that Colbert will replace David Letterman as the host of The Late Show is a tribute to the power of a personal brand.
In honour of David Letterman’s own late night innovations, Pilot compiled a Top Ten List of our favourite Colbert moments, and how he established himself as the rising king of comedy.
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10. That time he hosted the Whitehouse Correspondents’ Dinner and gave a master class in Truth to Power
9. His ability to simultaneously critique and invent language with words like “truthiness.”
8. Scoring his own ice cream flavour with Ben & Jerry’s Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream.
7. Trying to get NASA to name a wing of the International Space Station in his honour.
6. Raising $300,000 as the unlikely spokesperson for the US Winter Olympics speedskating team.
5. Masterfully manipulating Canadian insecurity by declaring Windsor, ON, “the earth’s rectum.”
4. Drawing attention to insane campaign finance practices through his own Super PAC “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.”
3. Getting Doritos to sponsor coverage of US political primaries.
2. Having Gloria Steinem participate in amazing satirical segment “Cooking with feminists.”
1. Showing his humanity and grief by telling viewers about his mother after she passed away, saying: “If you like me, that’s because of my mom.”