The Top 10 Best ‘Colbert Report’ episodes EVER! – #1

So let’s get to it, kids. Here’s the #1 spot for the best ‘Colbert Report’ episodes ever:

#1 – The Strike Show (Episode 4010 – 1/22/08)

While I knew this was going to be #1 on my list from the moment the idea for the blog series was conceived, I’ve been struggling so hard to figure out why exactly the show made such an impact on the viewers who saw it. To vocalize those feelings is so hard to do. Let me start with helping to relate the state of the fandom at this point in the strike.

For months, the staff of No Fact Zone had tirelessly been supporting the writers: blogging news, participating in campaigns, publishing letters and videos from writers, even bringing the food to the writers during strike days. It was pretty intense times.

This writers strike sapped out so much energy and momentum from the fans, the writers, and especially the hosts. Stephen, Jon, Conan – they were all teetering precariously, trying to support the writers, but at the same time, trying to support their staff who depended on their salaries and their jobs.

The fans were raw. Raw from doing everything we could to support the writers. Raw from being torn about how to support Stephen being on air while the strike was still going on. Raw from the exhaustion of wondering when it was going to end. We did everything we could to support the writers, and frankly, we were very vulnerable. The strike took away our *show*. They took away our Stephen.

I realized tonight, after a long and lengthy conversation with a near and dear friend of mine in the fandom, that this show stripped us all down. The fans were pretty much there, and with the interview with Andrew Young, we realized that Stephen was definitely there, too. At the beginning of the interview, Stephen said, “Do you remember my father?”, and it just bowled the Nation over with the realness of it all. He was giving all he could give to end the strike. And Andrew Young explained it so well – “It’s not about money, it’s about respect.” The writers deserved respect. Hell, at this point, everyone deserved a little more respect for the work they were doing to try to end the strike.

By the time that the show got to “Let My People Go”, I was just wrung out and hung up to dry. Seeing the writers float by during the song, and having become friends with many of them during the strike, was so difficult to watch. I know that using that particular song, with those particular singers, was dusted with a fine coating of irony. But the truth was, Stephen just wanted his writers, his friends, back by his side to give back to us what we were so eager to receive.

It’s so hard to put into words, even now almost two years after the original airing of the show. My episode guide that night was just, “Wow.” We had given all we could give, and he had given all he could give, and it was something that the Nation would not soon forget.

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Let My People Go
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  1. Beautiful post, DB.

  2. Jasmine (Yatzi) says:

    oh so amazing. Especially “Let My People Go” I can’t stop smiling when I watch that, it just makes me so happy!

  3. As much as I’m a Colbert freak/geek/nerd/whatever, I rarely foist my obsession on others unless they express more than a passing interest. When this show aired, however, I taped it and brought it into work with me for the next few days. I worked at a Quaker k-12 school and snagged every history teacher, every administrator, every performing arts teacher, anyone and everyone, including some high school students, and made them watch this show during a break or after school hours. The artistry, the message, the soul, the scope of this show was heart-swellingly awesome then, and it holds up today. Bravo.

    • ColbertGirl27 says:

      I think it is fantastic that you did this! Kudos to you! How was it received? Every person should see this episode. Poignant, touching and important!

  4. I knew this would be #1, and I am not disappointed. Brilliant post, DB.

  5. I have to say DB, good choice! This one is a real tear jerker and I agree that this is the best episode. I love how he supported his writers and was helping the strike that way. The best part was Let My People Go. That was really passionate. I can’t count how many times i watched that. I think I had my itunes subscription restarted with this one.


    Btw, I didn’t know that you helped the writers by feeding them too. Maybe I just forgot. I would have done that too had I been out there!

    • DB and NFZ organized zoners in New York and LA to go to the picket lines with snacks, water, etc to pass out to the strikers. You can read more in the archives (try November 2007 for a start) and also if you search the site for ‘Operation Superstantial Truthiness.’

      Great post,DB. This was, truly and exceptional episode – just what the doctor ordered for all of us that day.

  6. armillariella says:

    No surprise that this was number one. There were so many layers of awesome in this half hour. But it just breaks my heart every time I watch how eager Stephen was 30-some years later to hear a bit about his father from someone who worked with him. And it delights me to see Stephen laugh so genuinely at Andrew Young’s admonition about how much Stephen needs his writers.

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  7. MaryLovesColbert says:

    Wow. I think you really pin-pointed just why this episode is important to so many people. Well done! While I wasn’t there for the original airing of this episode, I remember how I felt when I first watched the video where Stephen traces it all back to his dad and to himself and I was just blown away. A really poignant episode and a great pick for #1. :)

  8. I knew this one would be #1 and you totally nailed why it deserves to be, DB. Great post! This was the only time TCR made me cry. A good kind of cry. The lead up to the interview, the interview itself and then “Let My People Go” was all very touching. And then you throw in my own feelings about losing my father when I was 13 and I was just a huge pile of emotional goo at the end of it.

  9. Stripped down indeed, in many ways.

    It’s easy to watch a late night comedy hour or half-hour simply because it’s a convenient moment of the day to unwind or uncoil the day’s exhaustion. It’s easy to forget that behind all of the humor are people working their tales off researching and writing, making it look so darn easy just about every day of the week. What I liked about this episode (and about the in-fighting with Stephen, Jon, and Conan… across multiple time-slots) was the honesty… it shows you how much they need, and care for one another in this business.

  10. Bravo! This episode has it all! It demonstrates how connected we all are–writers, performers, fans, passing observers. It is sweet and pure.

  11. ColbertGirl27 says:

    Great choice DB! I fell in love with Stephen all over again after this episode. So personal and touching. I will never forget it.

  12. Caoilfhiann says:

    I hadn’t thought much about which episode is my favorite, waiting to leave the choice up to you. You didn’t disappoint! On the Colbert Nation board I had listed the Andrew Young interview as one of my favorite, and it still is. I was touched by how moved Stephen seemed to hear about his father’s handling of the hospital strike. But the whole episode was tremendous. I can’t imagine how hard it was to put together the shows during the strike, but Stephen, Jon and Conan all did good jobs of balancing the need to keep the I’m glad you picked this episode as #1.

  13. DB, I knew in intuitively that this would be the #1 episode. Thank you.

    I think I skipped watching Malcolm Gladwell’s interview until now – as a special educator, the whole measuring IQ is a hot-button topic for me. Now I want to read his book. Hope my library has it. I had to laugh when he brought in the reference to Gorlock.

    The Andrew Young interview still leaves me speechless and heart-full.

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