The Colbert Report ends on Dec. 18. Until then, we'll be counting down each remaining episode with a look back at our favorite moments.
The "Stephen Colbert" character who appears nightly on The Colbert Report shares several select things in common with the real Stephen Colbert. Both Colberts hail from South Carolina, both mourned the passing of their beloved mother, Lorna, and both would be perfectly at home in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. The breadth and depth of Colbert's knowledge of all things Hobbit and Rings has frequently impressed many, including his former boss at The Daily Show, Jon Stewart. While interviewing Aragorn himself, Viggo Mortensen, in 2005 — before The Colbert Report premiered — Stewart played a recording of Colbert rattling of bits of trivia about Middle-earth's returned king. And when the actor appeared on the Report in September of this year, Colbert teased him about his lapsed Elvish accent.
But Colbert's most impressive use of his PhD in Interdisciplinary Tolkien Studies came when he sat across from Peter Jackson in Dec. 2012 on the eve of the premiere of the first installment of The Hobbit. The conversation started off light and goofy but quickly turned serious when Colbert's inner nerd emerged as they discussed Gollum's scene. While the film's director and supposed Middle-earth expert listened, the host broke down how Tolkien went back and rewrote that particular chapter of The Hobbit in order to complement the tone and chronology of The Lord of the Rings. Jackson then became the interviewer when he asked Colbert to explain whether the Return of the King appendices were supposed to be notes for a new version of The Hobbit. At that point, Colbert got as wonky as any of the politicians he regularly skewers, peppering his answer with a wealth of historical context and $5 words like "philologically." "I'm so glad I came on this show!" Jackson remarked as Colbert wound down. "It's a question I've been wondering for quite a few years."
You know, if this Late Show gig fails, Colbert can probably land a job teaching Tolkien professionally at any major South Carolina university.
The final episode of Colbert Report airs Dec. 18.