The Colbert Report aired its final episode last night in the United States. While Stephen Colbert will return to the airwaves next September as the second host of The Late Show, the character of “Stephen Colbert” will not.
As one of the top three late night programs for science and technology content in the U.S., I was not surprised to see some scientists, engineers and other science-oriented folks in the final episode. Several former guests returned for a song, and if you look carefully, you can find amongst them:
National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson
Inventor Dean Kamen
Flame Challenge organizer Alan Alda
Astronaut Terry Virts (the treadmill he is on is named for Colbert)
Astronaut Garrett Reisman
Physicist Brian Greene
Scientist George Church
Science Writer Steven Pinker
If you need help (and I did) identifying people, Vulture compiled an annotated slideshow.
One of the other top three programs, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, ends this evening. There is a similar musical number at the beginning of tonight’s show, but I’ve not had the chance to scour it for science and technology guests. (I was at the taping for that segment, but some people appeared too briefly for me to recognize them.)
While Colbert won’t return to the air until September, Comedy Central will start The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on January 19. Wilmore, like Colbert, has been a Daily Show correspondent. Ferguson’s replacement as Late Late Show host, James Corden, starts in late March. How both hosts will address science and technology is an open question. Before Colbert and Ferguson started hosting their programs I would not have expected them to feature science and technology as they have.