Her Excellency The Rev. Sir Doctor Stephen Tyrone Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A., Heavyweight Champion of the World✱✱ featuring Flo Rida La Premiere Dame De France, known to most as the persona played by his namesake on The Colbert Report, died this past Thursday in New York City. He was 49 years old.
The apparent cause was made clear when CBS announced that Stephen Colbert, the real life human being, would replace longtime host David Letterman on The Late Show when Letterman retires sometime next year.
The author of three books, (I Am America (And So Can You!), I Am a Pole (And So Can You!), and America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't) Colbert first appeared in the Daily Show as a correspondent and soon became a regular contributor on the show until 2005, when he left to host The Colbert Report. The show became an immediate success as Colbert brought terms such as “truthiness” and “factose intolerant” into the public sphere.
However, it would not be until a year later, at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, that Colbert would arrive at the pinnacle of his cultural impact. Invited as the featured entertainer, Colbert took the opportunity to offer a “celebration” of both then-President George W. Bush and the media. He compared the Bush presidency to the classic movie Rocky, saying that it was the “heartwarming story of a man being punched repeatedly in the face.”
The impactful performance at the event would eventually lead Colbert to a spot on Time Magazine’s 2006 list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World as well as prestigious awards such as a Spike TV Guys’ Choice Award for “Gutsiest Move”.
However, Colbert’s greatest achievement in news broadcasting and political analysis will remain his ability to not only report the news, but to take part in actively shaping the stories and encouraging his audience to do the same.
With his popularity continuing to soar with the success of The Colbert Report, Colbert eventually decided to seek the presidency twice, once in 2008 and once in 2012. Both bids eventually ended when Colbert was unable to get his name onto the ballot in his home state of South Carolina.
More recently, Colbert was able to successfully open his own political action committee named Colbert SuperPAC to educate his audience about the wondrous effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizen’s United case. With the slogan “Building a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow”, Colbert was able to receive over a million dollars in donations from anonymous Heroe$. He also convinced many of the members of his audience to form their own SuperPACs using the Colbert SuperPAC Super Fun Pack.
Colbert’s interview credentials were also unmatched in the industry as he was capable of making people from all walks of life speechless with his hard hitting questions. Politicians, actors, scientists, and even former presidents have been flabbergasted with the questions Colbert has asked. One of his most popular questions, “President Bush: great president or the greatest president?” often left the most well versed searching for answers.
So with his passing, the world is left just a tad darker knowing that no character will be able to replace the 11:30pm timeslot on Comedy Central the way Her Excellency The Rev. Sir Doctor Stephen Tyrone Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A., Heavyweight Champion of the World✱✱ featuring Flo Rida La Premiere Dame De France has for nearly a decade.
Mr. Colbert is survived by his real life counterpart Stephen Colbert, as well as his nightly audience of over a million viewers including this writer.