Jon Stewart helped make Stephen Colbert a star, and on Thursday night, the “Daily Show” host couldn’t contain his pride at his former protege’s ascension to one of the greatest thrones in late night television.
Colbert was named host of “Late Show” on CBS on Thursday afternoon, early enough for Stewart to write up a sweet segment about his friend for the “Daily Show” taping that same day.
“You may remember a few years back there was a gentleman on this program by the name of Stephen Colbert,” Stewart joked. “He was yea high, skin like porcelain, very talented actor, writer, dancer, improvisational comedian. We would send him to the field, usually with some type of fruit, and see where the day took us.”
Here Stewart played an early clip in which Colbert couldn’t help but laugh his face off, breaking character long before he mastered saying the absurd with a straight face on “The Colbert Report,” his home for the last decade.
“Truly one of the great pleasures of doing this show has been trying to maintain professional composure while Mr. Colbert is making me laugh uncontrollably,” Stewart added. “So the exciting news today is I no longer need a cable subscription for the privilege of watching Stephen Colbert: Our good friend Stephen Colbert will be heading to CBS to take over ‘The Late Show’ from, for at least me, the comedian broadcaster who is the best there ever was, David Letterman.
“And I think — here is the exciting thing for me, I think Stephen Colbert is up for the challenge,” Stewart continued. “So while we wish Dave the absolute best for a well-earned retirement, there’s no greater joy for seeing a genuinely good man who works as hard as he can every day and deserves all the success in the world actually get that success.”
Stewart has been very open about his advocacy for Colbert’s “Late Show” chances; he clearly already knew there was a deal made for his friend’s move to CBS on Wednesday night when he said some very kind things about Colbert’s talent.
“He’s done an amazing job with just that very narrow cast of character, but he’s got a lot more he can show,” Stewart said. “”He’s got some skill sets that are really applicable, interviewing-wise, but also he’s a really, really good actor and also an excellent improvisational comedian. He’s also got great writing skills. He’s got a lot of the different capacities. Being able to expand upon [those] would be exciting.”