Stephen Colbert

A theater comedian with a particular gift for improvisation, Stephen Colbert adopted the persona of a well-intentioned, but poorly informed idiot on the brilliant faux news program "The Daily Show" (Comedy Central, 1996- ). Though he was on the show when it was anchored by Craig Kilborn, Colbert came to national attention during the show's tenure hosted by Jon Stewart as a correspondent blithely reporting on the main political and newsworthy issues of the day. After six years, Colbert left "The Daily Show" to anchor his own program, "The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central, 2005-2014), where he took his well-informed idiot persona to new heights, thanks to skewering attacks on politicians and the media, as well as hilarious interview segments that were more about him than his guest, some of whom were not in on the joke. In 2006, Colbert drew fire from the Washington elites for scathing satirical remarks at the White House Correspondents' dinner, which quickly became an Internet sensation. Almost always in his GOP-skewering character, Colbert kept audiences guessing with an impenetrable air of ridiculous severity that kept viewers laughing. When Colbert was named as David Letterman's replacement as host of "The Late Show" in April 2014, it was announced that Colbert would retire his pompous blowhard character for his new high-profile position. Despite the switch in style, Colbert's version of "The Late Show" was a critical and commercial success, often besting time slot rival "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" (NBC 2014- ).