Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
On a night marked by a slew of upsets at the 65th Primetime Emmys, perhaps the biggest was The Colbert Report dethroning The Daily Show With Jon Stewart after a record 10 consecutive wins in the outstanding variety series category. No series in any category has won as many in a row. The last time a series other than Daily Show took home the statuette was 2002, when Late Show With David Letterman was the victor. This year, Colbert won not only for variety series but for writing as well, making it the most triumphant night ever for the faux news series on Comedy Central that follows Daily Show every late-night. As might be expected, Stephen Colbert was positively beaming as he met the press backstage, a clown car crew of 16 fellow Emmy winners following him onto the stage. Colbert credited the victory to “a lot of jokes,” adding, “I think we had a really good year.” He also figured it didn’t hurt his show’s Emmy chances that Stewart took the summer off during the voting period to make a movie, leaving the Daily Show hosting duties to John Oliver. “Not that Oliver didn’t do the greatest job ever,” he said. “But maybe that helped, I don’t know.”
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But Colbert was hardly lording his win over Stewart. “No one is a bigger fan of Jon Stewart than I am,” he said. “I worked on his show a bunch of times when it won best show.” But after 1,343 installments of Colbert Report, Colbert figured it was simply his show’s turn. “We get a boost from just how stupid the real news is,” he said. But Colbert continued to go back to his mentor, Stewart. “Jon invited us to have a passionate opinion about what we were writing about and made sure our own thoughts were in there,” he stressed. “I learned from him how to write satirical comedy. And he’s still there for me. I can call him anytime and ask for ideas and moral support or just the energy to do 160 shows a year. I’m the luckiest man in the world that I can call him anytime for advice and strength.” Colbert also made the point that he appreciates having the insulation of playing a character on Colbert Report, a man “who is not aware of how insensitive he is and believes his opinion on any story is healing a nation. Like most actual pundits.”
After he was done at the mic, Colbert made a point of racing back onstage to assure the media, “Jon Stewart’s streak is not broken! He’s an executive producer of this show. Congratulations Jon! If anyone could do it, you could!”