Stephen Colbert Gets Jon Stewart's Blessing To Keep Being Awesome

Sep 25, 2013

On last night's The Daily Show, Jon Stewart took the opportunity to earnestly assure everyone that he doesn't mind that over the weekend, The Colbert Report ended his 10-year streak of Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety Series.

Stewart called Colbert's Emmy "overdue," and said his only regret was not being there to participate in all the rejoicing. He also went on to underline that his staff doesn't mind not getting Emmys, because after all, lots of great people don't get Emmys at all, like Bob Newhart.

Then on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert (the character, not the real guy) gloated about kicking Stewart's butt, as you'd expect, and insisted on taking sole credit for the entire show. But then Stewart came out from the wings and patiently explained to the blowhard Colbert that he bears him no ill will. Why would he be upset? He's just really happy for him! Colbert goaded him into pretending to be upset, but the entire joke was that Stewart is truly fine with it — don't feel bad for him!

At the very end, Stewart did throw Colbert a bone by pointing out that he's a producer on Colbert's show, so he still wins anyway, and then dancing around to an "11 IN A ROW!" graphic. They hugged, they danced, end scene.

The perhaps ironic thing about all this was that while it was obviously done out of love and collaboration and genuine camaraderie, it had a slightly strange tone. After all, it still wound up being, taken as a whole, a pair of segments that were mostly about how great and gracious and generous Jon Stewart is, which might not be quite what people who agreed with Stewart's observation that Colbert's award was "overdue" were looking forward to. Perhaps the most gracious thing Stewart could have done, the thing that would really have stuck it to his petty phony nemesis, would have been having the aftermath of Colbert's win be a little bit more about Colbert and his staff and a little less about Stewart and his staff.

Ten Emmys make for a pretty good run; when it ends, do you really have to reassure people you're OK?

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