During his nine seasons as host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert’s right-wing blowhard alter ego—“Stephen Colbert”—spent a lot of time ironically laying into just about anything President Obama said or did.
So it was only fitting that the Late Show host welcomed “conservative pundit Stephen Colbert” back to late-night TV on Obama’s final night as president. “Did someone say ‘delusional egomaniac?’” the fake “Colbert” asked when the real one said you would have to be insane to try to sum up Obama’s legacy in just a few minutes.
For complicated legal reasons, Colbert can’t say that this other “Colbert” was the host of The Colbert Report. Instead, as he explained on Thursday night’s show, he’s that Colbert’s “identical twin cousin,” asking, “How many times do I have to scream that at the lawyers?!”
After Colbert first brought back his beloved character during the Republican National Convention, he apparently heard from Viacom’s legal team that the man who looks like him and has the same name was now its intellectual property. “Which is surprising, because I never considered that guy much of an intellectual,” he joked at the time.
Taking his seat behind the desk, “Colbert” quieted his cheering fans and said, “Well, well, well, at long last our America-hating, secret Muslim, lead-from-behind, terrorist fist-bumping, hopey-changy apologist-in-chief is leaving office.”
Which brought him to Thursday night’s “Werd”: “Thanks, Obama.”
“Look, I'll admit, Barack Obama made a few good choices,” he said, as the name “Michelle!” appeared on the screen. “For instance, he expanded the drone program, spied on American citizens through the NSA, let the Wall Street banks get even bigger, and never closed Guantanamo. But, folks, other than that, and I don’t want to exaggerate here, every year of the Obama regime felt like he was strangling a bald eagle with an American flag while taking a dump on an apple pie.”
Colbert “thanked” Obama for reminding him what he really stood for: “the opposite of whatever you said.”
“Obama said he was born in the United States, so we said he wasn’t,” he continued. “Obama said we should save the American auto industry, so we said let it die. Of course, opposing everything he said sometimes meant abandoning our beliefs. Just take Obamacare—he said it was going to help people, we said that was socialism, even though we know it was based on Romneycare.”
But with the Obama era coming to an end, Colbert had one surprising message for America’s 44th president “on behalf of everyone who opposed” him: “Please don’t go.” The chyron “At least leave Biden!” got the biggest cheer of the bit.
“I mean, honestly, without you, what do we believe?” he asked. “I mean, we had six years to come up with something to replace Obamacare, and the best we’ve got right now is Paul Ryan going door-to-door with a tub of Flintstones vitamins. I know Obama wanted to be a transformative president, and he was—he transformed me. And now I have no idea who that is!”
Without Obama in the White House, he said, “I’m scared to be alone with my own thoughts!” Colbert added, “So, I know, the Constitution says you’ve gotta go, but I’ll miss ya. You were a worthy adversary, a leader of vision, patience, dignity, passion, and humanity. And it really felt good fighting for the opposite of those things. And with our next president, I think we won.”
“So for the last time—from me, the real Stephen Colbert—I just want to say, thanks, Obama,” he concluded. “And that’s ‘The Werd.’”