‘The Colbert Report’ Final Episode: Review Roundup, Video Highlights of Star-Studded Farewell

December 19, 2014

Stephen Colbert bid goodbye to ‘The Colbert Report’ with a sendoff that was of epic proportions complete with a dizzying array of public figures and celebrities — from movie stars to statesmen to music artists to Muppets to journalists all converging to sing ‘We’ll Meet Again.’ Now that the episode and the nine-year-run of the show has come and gone, see what the critics and check out video highlights.

It may be almost a tradition by now, to end or begin a late-night talk show host’s reign with a parade of celebrities. But Stephen Colbert gathered a staggering number of famous people — and that would be the proper term. From former President Bill Clinton to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to the likes of Big Bird of Sesame Street along with an array of A listers from James Franco and Bryan Cranston to Willie Nelson and Yo-Yo Ma. And the journalists were well represented with the likes of Tom Brokaw and Keith Olbermann.

But the show itself, was an adventure into the wonderfully surreal. Who else but Stephen Colbert, in retiring his over-the-top conservative faux-Fox News political pundit would manage to kill the Grim Reaper in one segment and ride off as Captain America in another. But that’s just what transpired, as the longtime host and longtime character of nine years made his final appearance.

Yes, it’s one for the ages as it must be. The next time Stephen Colbert will be himself — minus the familiar, genial but seriously over-the-top persona — as host of ‘The Late Show’ replacing the retiring David Letterman.

So what did the critics have to say of this epic sendoff? Here’s a roundup.

“…The final episode of “The Colbert Report” on Thursday was a sad turning point, maybe, but it was also a happy reminder of how much of an anomaly that late-night comedy series really was: like “The Daily Show,” it became a vanity destination for the establishment in-crowd on Comedy Central, a cable channel that caters to the young and seemingly lonely (and thirsty)….” — New York Times

“… . Colbert began his “Cheating Death” segment by accidentally killing Death and becoming “immortal,” complete with a giant sword, lightning bolts hitting his body, and a mad scientist’s scream. But what does Stephen Colbert do with his newfound immortality? He doesn’t decide to rule the world or smite his enemies. No, he uses his power to forgo a goodbye to the Colbert Nation and sing a song. When those first few piano notes rang out, it was hard to imagine that Colbert’s rendition of “We’ll Meet Again” would be as joyous as it was, with just about every celebrity and their mother coming out to join Stephen in song. ….” — AV Club

“….It’s a rare man who gets to attend his own funeral. It’s an even luckier man who gets to cheat his own death, dust his prints off the murder weapon, read his own eulogy, and rise to live again in another form.

That’s what Stephen Colbert did Thursday night with “Stephen Colbert,” in a show that sent his bloviating host character — one of the greatest sustained performances in pop culture, TV or otherwise — off into TV eternity. And his final Colbert Report was both a sweet ending and a perfect summation of the show’s spirit — smart and surreal, sly and sincere. The finale nodded to the massive creation that Colbert wrought over nine years, and — as he flew off with Santa, a unicorn Abraham Lincoln, and Alex Trebek — promised something different to come. …..” — Time

“….Colbert opened with a little riffing on a recent story out of Syria – one final time he could comment on the news as a conservative talk show host – before admitting that the bad news tonight is that tonight’s episode is Colbert Report’s last. As he wore a vest under his suit jacket to subtly note the special occasion, Colbert hosted the same segment he opened with back in October 2005: The Word.

During The Word, Colbert harped on the differences he and his viewers made over the years (although the former was the only one who profited from it, he pointed out). “If I could do it again with you, I would do it the same,” he said to awe’s from the audience…..” — Hypable

“…. Instead of Stephen Colbert killing off his ultra-conservative pundit alter-ego on the final episode of “The Colbert Report” (as many assumed), he went with something different: Immortality.

It’s true: In the end, Colbert’s famous character, champion of America and truthiness, will live forever. Although at first, it didn’t seem like we would get such a definitive ending to the long-running Comedy Central show. “I am an emotionless, igneous news rock,” Stephen Colbert informed the audience at the beginning. Technically, he said it at the very end of “The Daily Show,” when Jon Stewart briefly cut to Colbert’s set to see how his real-life pal was holding up on his last night on Comedy Central……” The Washington Post

It was quite a show, and, difficult to review without simply recounting all that happened. But even better than reading a recounting of those events is merely to watch. See Stephen Colbert cheat death, sing with more than 50 famous people and ride off into television history.

See the video highlights below from last night’s show below!

Pictures: PR Photos

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