Tonight marks the last episode of The Colbert Report, and while host Stephen Colbert will soon return to television as the new host of Late Night, he won’t be the same “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot” we’ve come to love. (His words, not ours.)
Since debuting in 2005, The Colbert Report has covered LGBT issues as they’ve become more prominent in the mainstream culture—from marriage equality to celebrity outings, Colbert has been there to stir the pot (and turn the knife).
Below we celebrate 15 times The Colbert Report tore homophobia a new one.
15. Is the Pope gay?
The Pope’s resigning, and America’s favorite fake-Republican, real-Catholic weighed in on the situation. Was it hilarious? Uh, is the Pope Catholic?
Watch Colbert as he learns that the Huffington Post headline, “Pope Out,” doesn’t mean what he thinks it does.
14. Colbert’s bromance with Dan Savage
Colbert first invited sex columnist Dan Savage to be a guest back in 2006, and thus was born one of the great on-screen love stories of the decade.
This marks the first of many appearances Savage would make on The Colbert Report, and includes such classic moments as Stephen sharing his gay porn name (Tyrone Honeybee), Dan explaining how to find the clitoris, and telling Stephen that he once thought he was straight, too.
13. Counting gay sheep
In this 2007 clip, Stephen railed against a study indicating about 8% of rams prefer sex with other rams than with ewes. (“We’re here. We’re sheared. Get used to it.”)
In protest, he pledges to go home that same night and burn everything he owns that is made of wool.
12. Colbert’s “Storm Coming” Ad
Remember the NOM “Storm Coming” ad against Prop 8? It was the most over-the-top spot of the year that compared marriage equality to a disaster movie. “I love that ad,” Colbert comments in this 2009 bit. “It’s like watching The 700 Club and the Weather Channel at the same time.”
Colbert then rolls out his own ad opposing same-sex marriage, “paid for by generous donations from an anonymous group that may or may not be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”
11. Stephen Colbert’s gay-porn debut
Colbert even snuck in a little gay porn parody during one of his “Better Know a District” segments
The stilted dialogue. The dead-eyed stares. The huge burrito. It’s kind of perfect.
10. Gay History 101
In a 2011 “I’s on Edjukashun” segment, Colbert addressed the news that California schools were now mandated to include LGBT history in their curriculum. The segment really hits its stride at around the 3-minute mark, when we get to Michelangelo and Paul Lynde.
9. Frosting gay wedding cakes
After Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoed an epically unsound “Turn the Gay Away” bill in 2014, Colbert surmised that “all straight people are now legally required to make wedding cakes for gay people.”
Like we’d trust straight people to make our cakes.
8. Miss Janet if you’re nasty
He’s made some rather transphobic jokes over the years, but Colbert redeemed himself when he invited writer-activist Janet Mock on to school him (and us) on trans issues.
The two manage to get some serious information across while still employing the show’s trademark humor and satire.
7. Ellen Page Come Out—Again
After coming out as a lesbian and making the publicity rounds for X-Men: Days of Future Past, young Ellen Page sat down with Stephen Colbert and came out all over again.
Everyone should come out on The Colbert Report.
Colbert tackled Michael Sam’s draft pick this year by criticizing him for kissing his boyfriend on camera. “Folks this is just wrong,” Colbert exhorted. “In the NFL sexuality is supposed to take place off camera—and the fans should only find out about it when the charges are filed.”
5. The Gay Civil War
Anticipating the inevitable-ish showdown between marriage equality proponents and old men shaking their fists from their front lawns, Colbert debuted a “landmark documentary,” The Gay Civil War.
Following the Supreme Court’s non-decision earlier this fall, Colbert and his cohorts blanched at the idea of Speaker John Boehner’s endorsement of openly gay Republican congressional candidate Carl DeMaio. As Thomas Jefferson famously (never) said, “It’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve and I loves me the brown sugar.”
4. Tim Cook
In a Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger segment, The Colbert Report cheekily chastised Apple CEO Tim Cook for coming out. “As a corporate titan,” said Colbert, “this man should follow tradition and hide his sexuality in the Caymans.”
He also joked that now that Apple’s CEO has revealed he’s gay, Microsoft’s CEO will come out—“two years from now.”
3. The other Mr. Colbert
After the Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage in five states, Stephen acknowledged the inevitability of a gay takeover by introducing his new government-mandated life partner, Roger Cornsworth.
2. The gayest episode ever
Gay American Idol alum Clay Aiken ran for Congress this year and brought his campaign to The Colbert Report, where Paula Abdul immediately broke into tears.
In another queer new segment, we learned about a lesbian “throuple.”
And if that wasn’t enough gay, Broadway diva Audra McDonald stopped by to channel a little Billie Holiday. Check out the exclusive web-only clip of her performing “God Bless the Child.”
1. RuPaul comes to The Colbert Report (sort of).
In one hilarious Colbert Report segment, Stephen reminded us that RuPaul’s mantra “You Betta Work!” has been embraced for years by conservatives attacking welfare, unemployment benefits and other social programs.
Maybe next season’s Drag Race can double as the Republican primary, with Ted Cruz lip-synching against Maro Rubio and Jeb Bush. Either way, we all lose.