On Thursday night, The Colbert Report will come to an end.
For the last nine years and 1400-plus episodes, Stephen Colbert has entertained us by turning into a ridiculous avatar of a cable news blowhard to point out our real-life civil, economic and political ills.
Colbert's character works not just by ironically and comedically poking holes in topics like campaign fundraising, or gay marriage, or even #gamergate, but also by delivering these astute points from a distance. If Colbert really spelled out how he felt about every issue every night, he would be on an MSNBC show that no one would tune into.
That's what made his show on June 19 of last year so special. In that episode, Colbert let down his comedic armor and dropped character to explain that his mother, Lorna, had died.
This monologue is vulnerable, raw, and human — a brief flash of something we don't usually see from the man. It will absolutely break your heart. And it's something that's ultimately even more powerful when you count up all those years and episodes that he made us laugh so hard by playing a character.
It's a vivid reminder of why Stephen Colbert was one of the best, most genuine hosts in the business.