stephen-colbert-and-jon-stewartUPDATED WITH VIDEO: “As you can imagine, it’s been a wild day around here. You may remember a few years back there was a gentleman on this program by the name of Stephen Colbert,” Jon Stewart said tonight at the top of his Comedy Central program The Daily Show, addressing CBS‘ hire of Colbert to replace David Letterman on Late Show. (Video below)

Wild cheering from the studio audience.

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“He was yea high, skin like porcelain, very talented actor, writer, dancer, improvisational comedian. We would send him to the field, usually with some type of fruit, and see where the day took us.”

Dailyshow_logo__120924052923-200x94Stewart showed viewers a video from Colbert’s early days on The Daily Show in which the two men laugh uncontrollably while Colbert eats a banana.

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“By the way, we spent all day looking up old stuff on the Internet of Stephen. It’s really fun. … I mean working — we were working!” Stewart insisted.

“Truly one of great pleasures of doing this show has been trying to maintain professional composure while Mr. Colbert is making me laugh uncontrollably. The exciting news today is I no longer need a cable subscription for the privilege of watching Stephen Colbert. Our good friend Stephen Colbert will be heading to CBS to take over The Late Show from —  for at least me —  the comedian broadcaster who is the best there ever was, David Letterman. I think the best there ever late-show-with-colbert-logo_was. And I think — here is the exciting thing for me —  I think Stephen Colbert is up for the challenge. So while we wish Dave the absolute best for a well-earned retirement, there’s no greater joy for seeing a genuinely good man, who works as hard as he can every day and deserves all the success in the world, actually get that success. For Stephen we’re just thrilled.”

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It’s unclear exactly when Colbert will take over Dave’s franchise, since Dave hasn’t said what is his end date; he announced last week he would retire some time in 2015; Colbert will end his Comedy Central series The Colbert Report at the end of his calendar year.  “Here is what I’m looking forward to … to walk down Broadway and look up at the Ed Sullivan Theatre marquee — assuming that is where they tape it,” Stewart added, realizing maybe he’d just accidentally broken some news, since all parties involved have thus far been mum in re whether the new Late Show With Stephen Colbert will emanate from the theater that houses Letterman’s show, or from Los Angeles. CBS is being coy, so as to give politicians on both coasts time to work themselves into a froth throwing “incentives” at the network.

“Godspeed to both men,” Stewart concluded.

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Watch Stewart discuss Colbert’s new gig here: