Rising to fame as a correspondent on "The Daily Show" and the host of "The Colbert Report," Stephen Colbert has had plenty of memorable moments leading up to Tuesday night, when his "Late Show" premieres on CBS.
In honor of the "Late Show with Stephen Colbert" premiere, TODAY.com looks back at five of the comedian's most memorable moments.
1. His recurring "Colbert Report" segment, "The Word"
Whether it was establishing his satirical tone in 2005 with one pseudo-word ("Truthiness") or allowing the commander-in-chief in 2014 to deliver the segment himself and rename it "The Decree," one of the Comedy Central show's longest-running bits was among the host's most celebrated.
2. Anytime he broke character on "The Colbert Report"
It's rather remarkable that he kept his cool for most of his nearly decade-long run as "Colbert Report" host, but that made it even funnier when he wasn't able to maintain his composure. And like most people who get a case of the giggles, Colbert endearingly had a tough time recovering once a giggle fit started, and that kind of laughter is contagious. If you make it through the video above without laughing along with him at some point, humor might not be your thing.
3. Palling around with famous friends
Colbert has made a lot of showbiz friends through the years. In 2010, he and his "Daily Show" colleague Jon Stewart attracted throngs of crowds and celebrities to the Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear in Washington, D.C. Before he became a friendly rival to "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon, they sang a duet to Rebecca Black's "Friday" in 2012, and danced together in a celebrity-laden video set to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" in 2013. Since the dawn of the current millennium, he's routinely (and jokingly) sparred with Stewart and fellow late-night host Conan O'Brien, and hilariously sniped with buddy Steve Carell during their "Daily Show" assignments and subsequent reunions. And in the "Colbert Report" finale that aired in December 2014, dozens of the host's famous friends showed their support in a bittersweet sing-along.
4. His emotional eulogy to his mom, Lorna
After taking a week to mourn the loss of his mother, who died in June 2013, Colbert returned to his show with an eloquent elegy that was equal parts moving and beautiful. "She knew more than her share of tragedy, losing her brother and her husband and three of her sons," he told viewers. "But her love for her family and her faith in God somehow gave her the strength not only to go on, but to love life without bitterness, and to instill in all of us a gratitude for every day we have together."
5. His tribute to Jon Stewart on Stewart's last "Daily Show" episode as host
Colbert often ribs Stewart, who helped launch his career, but the "Late Show" host had nothing but kind things to say about the departing "Daily Show" host last month for Stewart's last night on the job. "We are better people for having known you," Colbert said. "You are a great artist and a good man. … I know you are not asking for this, but on behalf of so many people whose lives you changed over the past 16 years: Thank you." In a night of tributes to Stewart, Colbert's was arguably the best and most memorable.
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