"The Colbert Report" will end in eight months, Comedy Central said Thursday in a statement. It's not surprising news after word that host Stephen Colbert will take over CBS's "Late Show" when David Letterman retires in 2015. But it does mean viewers will have to say goodbye to a rollicking show format and the freewheeling fictional character who made it work.
The "Report" has been a groundbreaking show. Colbert plays a bombastic conservative, but since the character shares his name and he never breaks character, there's a deliciously weird overlap. He can say things a regular host could never get away with, and night after night, that's exactly what he does.
On his new show, playing himself, he'll have different opportunities to deliver his trademark humor, but his old style will be missed. Here are a dozen of his greatest lines.
ON BEING GAY
"Now, there's nothing wrong with being gay. Some of my best friends are going to hell."
(To Neil Patrick Harris) "But you are also the biggest threat of all ...You are a gay person I like. Your threat is that you make being gay seem non-threatening. It's almost as if your happiness does not take mine away."
ON FOOD AND BEVERAGES
"Willie Nelson has a (Ben & Jerry's ice cream) flavor? What's in it, shredded tax forms and hash?"
"Take it from me, there's nothing like a job well done, except the quiet enveloping darkness at the bottom of a bottle of Jim Beam after a job done any way at all."
"Now, I don't see color. People tell me I'm white and I believe them because police officers call me 'sir'."
"I'm disappointed that my own Catholic Church has decided that capital punishment is wrong. Which is pretty hypocritical if you think about it, because they wouldn't even have a religion if it wasn't for capital punishment."
"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it."
ON FOREIGNERS AND IMMIGRANTS
"Foreign newspapers: if they've got nothing to hide, how come they don't print them in English?"
"I talked to Bay Buchanan, founder of the political action committee to get immigrants out of America. Sounds like a hard job. We should find some immigrants to do that."
"Now folks, there is no greater injustice than having to attend your safety school. I myself was crushed when I had to go to Dartmouth instead of my first choice, Hogwarts. I mean, they never even responded to my application owl, probably because he was white."
"And that brings us to tonight's word: Truthiness. Now I'm sure some of the word-police, the 'wordanistas' over at Websters, are gonna say, 'Hey, that's not a word!' Well, anybody who knows me knows that I am no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They're elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn't true, what did or didn't happen."
ON AUDIENCE INTERACTION
"Keep those letters coming, folks. An unpaid intern skims each one."
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