“Colbert Report” Finale: That Well-Dressed Guest List

Has ever such an eclectic group of people gathered on one stage together?

For last night’s epic finale of “The Colbert Report,” star Stephen Colbert signed off with a heartfelt rendition of “We’ll Meet Again.” And he was joined by, well, everyone.

Stephen Colbert; Jon Stewart; Colbert Report
Randy Newman, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart in the series finale for “The Colbert Report”
CREDIT: courtesy of Kristopher Long/Comedy Central

Initially, there were the obvious choices: old pal and fellow political jokester Jon Stewart and songwriter Randy Newman playing the piano. Then things quickly veered into holy-cow territory, as journalists and politicians teamed up to perform with actors, musicians, athletes, inventors and Sesame Street puppets.

We won’t attempt to name everyone — it’s a long list — but here are a few highlights:

  • Katie Couric cutting a rug with ballet dancer David Hallberg — seriously, they were still dancing after the camera faded to black
  • Gloria Steinam wandering through the shot — did someone miss her mark?
  • Michael Stipe’s coordinated hat and shirt
  • Cookie Monster and Christiane Amanpour’s matching outfits
  • Bill Clinton’s tweeted message
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson giving an assist to Yo-Yo Ma, who got caught behind exuberant dancer Lil Buck

In the studio, the guests turned out in their very best for the special occasion, decked out in mostly conservative suits and dresses, and an almost-ubiquitous sea of black shoes. Did the producers insist on a footwear dress code?

But there was more shoe variety from video guests, including U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan wearing desert battle dress, and an astronaut working the treadmill at the International Space Station in his running sneakers. Were those Nikes or New Balances, do you think?

Check out this clip to see it all:

The diverse and enthusiastic turnout for Colbert’s literal swan song is a clear reflection of his show’s success at covering a broad range of topics over its nine years. Whether he will be able to do the same when he takes over the “Late Show” from David Letterman remains to be seen.

But for now, we bid farewell to the comedian’s charming and egotistical right-wing pundit. Or as he said it himself:

“Like Mary Poppins or Ghandi — I get ’em confused, think they both had those flying umbrellas — folks, now it is time for me to go.”

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