Stephen Colbert is the Sam to Jon Stewart's Frodo.
That's the lovingly nerdy analogy Colbert made during his hilarious and emotional sendoff for Stewart, who signed off as host of The Daily Show after 16 years on Thursday night. Colbert, who will make his big debut as host of the Late Show on CBS next month, thanked Stewart on behalf of everyone -- himself included -- who in some way got their start on The Daily Show. Deep-cut hobbit jokes aside, Colbert apparently abandoned the teleprompter to express his gratitude to his longtime friend:
"Here’s the thing: You said to me and many other people here years ago never to say thank you because we owe you nothing," Colbert said. "It is one of the few times I’ve known you to be dead wrong. We owe you — and not just for what you did for our career by employing us to come on this tremendous show that you made — we owe you because we learned from you. We learned from you, by example, how to do a show with intention, how to work with clarity, how to treat people with respect — you were infuriatingly good at your job, OK?”