An incredible sendoff to an incredible character. I’ve been watching since middle school. I grew up politically as a member of the Colbert Nation. This was a genuinely, potently sad moment for me and I imagine countless other viewers. But Stephen’s off to do bigger and, hopefully, even better things. Best of luck to him. Over at Jezebel, Rebecca Rose has the most comprehensive list I’ve yet seen of all the people who were on the set:
There were way too many people to name right now, but here’s the ones I can remember as I type this out: Alan Alda, Jon Stewart, Willie Nelson, Bryan Cranston, Tom Brokaw, Mandy Patinkin, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Michael Stipe, Cindi Lauper, Katie Couric, James Franco, Charlie Rose, Barry Manilow, Jeff Daniels, Patrick Stewart, Dr. Francis Collins, Andy Cohen, Henry Kissinger, Andrew Sullivan, Arianna Huffington, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Christian Amanpour, Goerge Lucas, J.J. Abrams, Bill Clinton, Keith Olbermann, Jeff Tweedy, Tim Meadows, Mike Huckabee, Mark Cuban, Bob Costas, Ken Burns,Gloria Steinem, Thomas Friedman, Claire McKaskill, David Gregory, Eliot Spitzer, Yo Yo Ma, John Ratzenberger, Samantha Power, Vince Gilligan, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Bill DeBlasio, Randy Newman, Sam Waterston, Toby Keith, Bo Dietl, Cory Booker, Elijah Wood, Pussy Riot, Leslie Stahl, Smaug, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Debra Wilson, Paul Krugman, Jon Batiste, Stone Phillips, Peter Frampton, Alexi Lalas, Chuck Schumer, Chief of Staff of the Army General Ray Odierno, Nate Silver, Bradley Whitford, Jake Tapper, Jeffrey Toobin, Leon Wieseltier, Ric Ocasek, Dean Kamen, Trevor Potter, Jon Alter, Richard Clarke, Norm Ornstein, David Hallberg, Kevin Spacey, Grover Norquist, George Saunders, astronaut Garrett Reisman in ACTUAL SPACE, a group of military servicemen and women in Afghanistan and a WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHERS. Alex Trebek also made an appearance at the very end, but was not part of the musical number.
A probably unprecedented and probably awkward gathering. Matt Taibbi tweeted a hint of what it was like backstage: