Jon Stewart‘s final episode of The Daily Show was an emotional affair from start to finish, but Stephen Colbert revealed to reporters at a Television Critics Association panel on Monday, Aug. 10, that their fearless leader could’ve nixed one of the best moments from the episode.
After Colbert wrote the Frodo/Sam bit, in which he bid farewell to Stewart via an extended Lord of the Rings metaphor, a producer asked him to add a “thank you” from everyone on the Daily Show team.
“One of the producers said, ‘Would you mind — we’d like to say thank you to him. We thought it’d be nice if you did it. Would you come up with something?'” the future Late Show host revealed. “I said, ‘Sure, but you know, he’s gonna flop around like a fish on a dock. He’s not gonna want me to do that.’ ‘Yeah, but do it anyway.'”
So while the big moment was happening, “I felt like a rodeo clown, trying to keep him on that stage,” Colbert, 51, shared. “I thought he was honestly going to leave.”
Another fun tidbit — when Steve Carell, John Oliver, and the rest of the past and present Daily Show correspondents came out at the end and circled around their retiring friend, they had a special message for him. “You can’t hear it on the recording, unfortunately, but we were all chanting, ‘Made. Him. Cry! Made. Him. Cry!'” the Colbert Report alum said. “I think that might be my favorite thing that I ever did on The Daily Show, cause it’s true — he never let you thank him. I’m not making that up.”
Colbert’s Late Show premieres Sept. 8 on CBS.
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