TV Review: Comedy Central’s ‘Colbert Report’ Finale

In a star-studded event, Stephen Colbert said farewell to his beloved show and character in The Colbert Report’s finale episode, which aired on Comedy Central on Thursday, Dec. 18. Colbert is in line to take over as host of The Late Show after David Letterman retires in May. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“And his final Colbert Report was both a sweet ending and a perfect summation of the show’s spirit — smart and surreal, sly and sincere. The finale nodded to the massive creation that Colbert wrought over nine years, and — as he flew off with Santa, a unicorn Abraham Lincoln, and Alex Trebek — promised something different to come.”
—James Poniewozik, Time

“It’s true: In the end, Colbert’s famous character, champion of America and truthiness, will live forever. Although at first, it didn’t seem like we would get such a definitive ending to the long-running Comedy Central show. ‘I am an emotionless, igneous news rock,’ Stephen Colbert informed the audience at the beginning.”
—Emily Yahr, Washington Post

“If viewers were looking for a hint of what Stephen Colbert, mainstream late-night host, might look like, they didn’t get it. As he has for nine years, Colbert maintained his over-the-top stance as a ultra-patriotic crusader for freedom and justice, a role he has used to skewer any number of political issues and current events. ‘I promised you a revolution and I delivered,’ he boasted to the audience.”
—Brian Steinberg, Variety

The Colbert Report is dead and truly, madly, deeply do we mourn. But this new fella, Stephen Colbert, he may be a little crazy but he seems nice enough and he can carry a tune; he should do just fine on The Late Show.”
—Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

“In a nod to Colbert shedding his conservative character, Stewart introduced the Moment of Zen, which was a 2010 outtake in which Colbert broke character while taping the nightly handoff from The Daily Show to The Colbert Report. A producer is heard telling him to get back into character.”
—Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter

“Even though we know the man will be back on our late night TV screens sometime next summer when he takes over for the retiring David Letterman on the Late Show, this truly is a goodbye to the character of Stephen Colbert that we've come to know and love over the years. We will miss him.”
—Lauren Piester, E!

“After the next commercial break, the newly-‘immortal’ Colbert ushered in the segment we’d all tacitly been waiting for: a celebrity-stuffed sing-along, featuring what was perhaps the most gloriously random assortment of boldfaced names ever assembled in one room.”
—Hillary Busis, Entertainment Weekly