Last night, EW No. 9 Entertainer of the Year Stephen Colbert aired his final Colbert Report of the year, and what a doozy it was. Seriously, where else are you going to see Morley Safer of 60 Minutes, New York governor-elect Eliot Spitzer, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, and Peter Frampton on the same program? Not to mention Henry Kissinger – a guy who’s won a Nobel Prize and is surely the most gravely serious man ever to serve as Secretary of State – declaring it was “time to rock.” (IFilm has highlights of the show here and here.)
I’m not goint to rehash the contretemps that led to the guitar solo challenge between Colbert and the Decemberists (represented by, naturally, band guitarist Chris Funk), but I do want to declare the set-up genius. From the inanity of Spitzer serving as a contest judge (I guess his investigation of music industry payola gave him quasi-music-realted cred) to Frampton and his voicebox arriving just in time to relieve a “bloodied” Colbert, the “Countdown to Guitarmaggedon” was a excellent close to an excellent year for the fake newscaster, whose own cred is clearly beyond reproach among politicians, musicians, and college kids. Can the man do no wrong?