Kudos to TIME for recognizing this wonderful, wonderful episode of The Colbert Report from that dark period earlier this year during the writers’ strike. This January 22nd episode was one of the most touching moments I can recall seeing on television in recent years, and I’m so very glad that the folks at TIME agreed.
7. The Colbert Report, Jan. 22 episode
By James Poniewozik
Conan O’Brien, David Letterman and Craig Ferguson all did yeoman’s work keeping the lights on while their writers were on strike. But the most brilliant bit of strike-era late-night was this Colbert episode, which was really an essay in late-night-comedy form. Colbert brought out civil-rights legend Andrew Young to discuss the lessons of a 1969 strike by black hospital workers, which was resolved in negotiations between Young and — wait for it — Colbert’s father, a medical-university administrator. In one stroke, Colbert rolled up African American history, a tribute to his striking writers, a tribute to his own father (who died in a plane crash when Colbert was a boy) and his own comic self-aggrandizement — after which he joined Young, author Malcolm Gladwell and the Harlem Gospel Choir in singing “Let My People Go.” An only-on-Colbert moment of surreal solidarity.
Looks like Time is doing all kinds of honoring of Stephen today:
- Top 10 Late Night Gags – 4. Conan vs. Stewart vs. Colbert Smackdown
- Top 10 Late Night Gags – 3. Colbert’s Green-Screen Challenge