Stephen Colbert and “Stephen Colbert” took some time Wednesday night to say goodbye to the man they referred to as “Papa Bear”: Bill O’Reilly.
The “Late Show” host, who largely based his “Colbert Report” conservative pundit persona on the former Fox News anchor, kicked off Wednesday’s show by devoting much of his opening monologue to the news of O’Reilly’s ouster from Fox News amid sexual harassment allegations.
“Over the years, I have talked one or two times about Fox News host, and bold fresh piece of humanity, Bill O’Reilly,” Colbert said. “Like him or not, a lot of people watched him. He had the #1 cable news show for fifteen years… until today.”
Colbert went on to say that he and O’Reilly didn’t see “eye to eye on anything,” but that having him gone was a huge deal.
“It’s like looking at your front yard and the big oak tree is just gone,” Colbert said. “I’m sure the oak tree said some disturbing things about young black men with their rap music and their neck tattoos, but damn it the tree had been there forever. And your grandpa liked to just sit there and stare at it, and then the tree would sell your grandpa gold coins and self-lubricating catheters.”
The “Late Show” host then admitted that he actually owed a lot to O’Reilly.
“I spent over nine years playing a character based largely on him,” Colbert said. “And then 12 months in therapy to debloviate myself.”
So to mark O’Reilly’s departure, “The Late Show” issued a statement from O’Reilly’s biggest fan, Colbert’s alter-ego “Stephen Colbert.”
“Hello, Nation, and shame on you. You failed him. You failed Bill O’Reilly,” Colbert’s alter ego said. “All he ever did was have your back, and if you’re a woman, you know, have a go at the front too.”
The faux Colbert added, “And what? Suddenly sexual harassment’s a crime? Well, that’s the country we live in now, Obama’s Trump’s America.”
Colbert’s persona then closed by saying, “Stay strong, Papa Bear,” before bursting into tears.
CNNMoney (New York) First published April 20, 2017: 1:18 AM ET