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Goodbye, Mr. Colbert: an Open Letter from the Millennial Generation to the Concluded "Colbert Report"
Dear Mr. Colbert,
Can I call you Stephen? Thanks, I knew you wouldn't mind. You are a cool guy like that. That's part of the reason why we love you.
Where do I begin the hard work of saying goodbye? You have been so important to me for so long that I am having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that the Stephen Colbert I know and love may be gone forever. I know you are moving to a new show soon, though you won't admit it, which has terrified me on more than one occasion. And I know that your body of work on the "Colbert Report" will stand the test of time, and that you have written several wonderful books that I can re-read in my pajamas over a cup of spiked cocoa while I mourn your passing from the 11:30 slice of television that made "late night" mean something to me. I know that you aren't dying; just moving on. But I'm scared Stephen.
Stephen Colbert Highlight #1
I'm scared you won't be the same person on CBS as you were on Comedy Central. How could you be? You are moving to the major leagues. Or at least from a bench warming position on the bottom of the Chicago Cubs roster to a power hitting space with the SF Giants. I know this metaphor won't be lost on you. You love baseball. Baseball is America and you love America.
I'm scared that your show won't be watchable. There was a time when I loved Letterman, but then I grew up and realized that the kind of late night T.V. that airs on CBS and NBC really isn't that entertaining. And I found you on Comedy Central, and thought I would never have to find something else to watch in that late night timeslot again.
Most of all I'm scared that I won't be the same person. Without the "Colbert Report", where will I get my small and important window into "the other side," the Fox Newses and Bill O'Reilleys of the world? Where will I get such a deep and wide swatch of American intellectual culture, represented by your one of a kind guest roster? Where will I get my daily dose of common sense, represented by your amazing satirical segments like "The Word" and so many others? Where will I find that perfect blend of humor, social consciousness, and innovation that your show gives me? When you leave, there is going to be a huge hole in my heart, and I'm afraid it won't be easy to fill.
You see Stephen, you and I grew up together. 9 years ago, when you came on the air, I was a wide eyed 14 year old. I didn't understand much about the world, and I didn't care about things like "politics." But somehow, by some stroke of luck, I started watching your show. There isn't much on at 11:30pm, so I found you, and you changed me.
Stephen Colbert Highlight #2
It took me a while to understand your show, and who you were and what you had to say, but when I did, I saw the world in a different light. Your take on "theater of the absurd" and your biting satire changed the way I saw things, and taught me to laugh at the worst parts of our culture and society. Your eye for absurdity, and your characters ability to step back and see the idiocy that exists on both sides of the spectrum, taught me to be a cynic in the best kind of way. I started looking at the world critically because of you; I started actually THINKING about what message people were trying to sell me, what mistakes our leaders were trying to hide, and what could be done to genuinely change the world because of what you taught me. And I'm not alone.
You inspired a whole generation of activists, Stephen. You may not realize this from your golden plated throne in New York City, but you changed the world. Not because you were an activists yourself per say (and you ARE an activist, Stephen) but because you showed the rest of us how to look at the world. You taught us to laugh and keep our minds open; to push ourselves to be critical of our own opinions and ideas. And you did this all without breaking character.
Stephen Colbert Highlight #3
You are brilliant, Stephen. This is the biggest consolation I have, as I see you transition away from the show you have mastered for so long. I remember you telling "Meet the Press" that "Satire is parody with a point," and you have lived this for so long now. You are brilliant, and that brilliance isn't going to fade when you move on. Or at least it won't if you don't let it. You don't have to remain the exact character that we know and love: you may start wearing blue ties and may stop calling yourself Bill O'Reilly's contemporary. You can do whatever you need to do, as long as you don't lose that eye you have, that brilliant eye which made you such a great satirist for so long.
We are going to miss you Stephen. Because you have changed the world and changed all of us, and remained so brilliant while doing so. We are going to miss the laughs, the thoughts, the genuine care that you put in to your show and your messages. We are going to miss the zannyness and the heart of the "Colbert Report." We are going to miss the great segments, the great guests, the great commentary, the off the cuff humor. Most of all we are going to miss the eye you have for the important things in our country, and your ability to share what matters in such a unique and insightful way.
But I believe in you, Stephen. Keep doing you. No matter where the executives at CBS try to push you, keep doing you Stephen. Keep being brilliant. Keep inspiring others.
Until next time: here's looking at you kid.
The Millennial Generation