Good Times, As Far As We Knew

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Stephen Colbert ended his extraordinary nine-year run of The Colbert Report by killing the Grim Reaper, gleefully relishing his immortality and leading a massive sing-along of "We'll Meet Again" with a gazillion celebrities, from Willie Nelson to Gloria Steinem to Big Bird to Bryan Cranston. Despite his role as a “transformational historical figure,” Colbert modestly noted, today, as nine years ago, a Bush is running for President, Americans are defending torture, and we’re sending troops to Iraq. Thus, he argued with his trademark pith and wit, he hadn't so much changed the world as “samed the world," a withering observation that like so many that came before was in equal parts hilariously spot-on and deeply depressing. Colbert, like Jon Stewart, helped many of us get through the Bush years with his sly smarts, his good humor, his righteous anger and, underlying all, his humanity. For a sense of his dazzling ability to speak truth to power while pretending not to, see some highlights - including his portrait of a gay mayor in a small town in Kentucky for "People Who Are Destroying America," his "I Am A Super-Pac and So Can You" adventure - and, most startling, his blistering takedown of George Bush, as well as a complacent media, at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner as W sat, stunned and unsmiling, a few feet away. Colbert's truthiness will be missed.

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