Stephen Colbert, son of South Carolina, finishes the latest chapter of his comedic career tonight with the final airing of “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central.
Colbert completes nine years as a fake conservative host; he will succeed David Letterman as the next host of “The Late Show” in 2015.
Colbert has declared himself governor of South Carolina, a U.S. Senator from South Carolina and a candidate for President ... of South Carolina. He has defended our peaches, our barbecue and our beauty contestants. He has trained with our soldiers and partied with our students.
We honor Colbert in turn by ranking his best bits about the Palmetto State. Find clips from these bits with this story at thestate.com/living.
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1. Mark Sanford Does Something Interesting (June 24, 2009)
Earlier in the day, The State found the then-governor getting off a plane from Buenos Aires; later, in a news conference, he admitted to going AWOL to see a woman there. Colbert could not contain his astonishment of the revelation that the seemingly benign fiscal conservative could entangle himself in a tango de amour. “Finally, Mark Sanford does something interesting,” Colbert said.
2. Stephen Colbert for President (Oct. 16, 2007)
Colbert launched a bid to get on the SC primary ballot as a Republican. The fee was $35,000, so Colbert jumped ship and got on the Democratic ballot instead. For reals. Days later, the state Democratic executive committee rejected his request to be added to the ballot. His sole campaign stop was at the USC Horseshoe.
In 2012, Colbert pranked the state GOP by trying to get naming rights to the presidential primary. Another time, he tried to get a “corporations are people” referendum question on the state ballot.
3. Rock Me Like A Herman Cain primary rally at the College of Charleston (Jan. 20, 2012)
In one of many jabs taken during the 2012 presidential election, Colbert tried again to get himself on the SC primary ballot as a candidate for “president of South Carolina.”
This time, he urged voters to cast a vote for Herman Cain, the GOP contender who had dropped out of the race earlier. A vote for Cain, Colbert contended, was almost like a vote for him. He appeared on the campus of the College of Charleston to an enthusiastic crowd in his only campaign rally.
4. Guest: Nikki Haley (April 3, 2012)
Colbert had a South Carolina trivia showdown with the governor during her guest spot on the show.
Colbert could not name the state drink (it’s milk), nor the state snack food (“I don’t know; anything fried?”). But he got a signed Clemson helmet from the governor.
5. Training at Fort Jackson (June 8-9, 2012)
To prepare for hosting a week of the show from Baghdad, Colbert spent time training with recruits at Fort Jackson for a two-part segment. Colbert slacked his way through exercises, including climbing walls, running and rappelling.
Honorable mentions: Colbert endorses his sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, for Congress; he reluctantly eats North Carolina barbecue; he defends Miss SC Brooke Mosteller, whose introduction at the Miss America pageant raises eyebrows for mentioning mobile homes; he tries to get appointed to fill former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint’s seat; Sticky Fingers restaurant in Charleston wins auction to hang a portrait of Colbert in its King Street restaurant.