As Entertainment Weekly observed in their upcoming Stephen Colbert/The Hobbit cover story, the host of The Colbert Report plays a satire of a conservative windbag—but when he geeks out, that’s never an act.
Since the Report premiered on Comedy Central in 2005—and even before that, when he was a correspondent on The Daily Show—Colbert has unabashedly indulged his nerdy side, alternately poking at and showing off his own extensive knowledge of various properties. Getting his own series was a platform to lampoon right-wing pundits, but it also served to show America what a proud nerd looks like. Whether defending the new crossguard lightsaber or dominating at Tolkien trivia, Colbert taps into his endless knowledge and enthusiasm for all things geek in a way no one else can.
Defending the Episode VII Crossguard Lightsaber
This video is amazing enough to watch Colbert pretend to pilot the Millennium Falcon and brag about how he saw Episode IV two weeks early. But the best part is when Colbert takes on the crossguard lightsaber haters. Despite the silly whiteboard analysis, his argument is pretty straightforward and a decent explanation for how the crossguard might actually work. And his conclusion is just great: “Confused? Well, you’ll understand in two weeks, when you catch up with where I’m at.”
Mic Lightsaber dropped.
Introducing Stefen Colbear
Seeing as Colbert is such a video game and role-playing game enthusiast, Upper Deck (makers of the official World of Warcraft Trading Card Game) thought it would be rad to devote a card to him. They dreamed up Stefen Colbear, Human Paladin of Truthiness, and commissioned artist Todd Lockwood to draw the above image.
Unfortunately, Colbert’s agent nipped the idea in the bud, dashing Blizzard and Upper Deck’s hopes of Colbert revealing the card on his show and giving them all the publicity. But then the art was leaked online, and so we still get to share in the wonder of Stefen Colbear.
Living Every Lord of the Rings Cosplayer’s Dream
For EW’s latest cover story bidding goodbye to Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, they called upon super-fan Colbert to embody Bilbo, Legolas, and Gandalf. The costume and makeup (as shown in time lapses) is clearly a grueling process, but Colbert is positively giddy when it comes time for the photo shoots.
Receiving Captain America’s Shield
When Cap was tragically killed in Marvel’s Civil War arc in 2007, then-Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada wrote a special letter to Colbert. Apparently Cap had “bequeathed his shield to the only man he believed had the red, white, and blue balls to carry the mantle.” Colbert read the letter during the show’s Sign Off segment and proudly bore it aloft; it still has a place of honor on the set.
In the video above, Colbert tells the story to Seth Meyers, marveling over how “I’m a real person playing a fake version of myself on a real television show, who received an actual shield from a fake character who died.” Trippy.
Delivering the Smackdown to James Franco on Lord of the Rings Trivia
When James Franco appeared on the Report in 2011 to promote his film Your Highness, he wanted to talk more epic fantasy with Colbert. But as valiantly as he attempted to answer some Tolkien trivia, Franco came out the loser. In 2014, he tried again, only to get immediately smacked down by his superior. Just watch, so that you can appreciate Colbert laughing and shouting, “You come into my house? You come into my house! How dare you!”
These are, of course, not the only times Colbert has nerded out so publicly. The Colbert Report has even dedicated an entire “Geek Page” to videos and anecdotes like this, for your endless enjoyment.